I have written about things that people do on twitter that makes me manic.  Thankfully now with Google plus you can take that poor behavior and run amok over there.

The other day I tweeted how much I respect people who take the time to retweet with “native” style vs traditional Retweets.

This caused a flurry of activity about what the difference.


When twitter started we didn’t have:

  • Search
  • Mentions
  • Hashtags
  • Lists
  • Retweets

In a nutshell you kids have it easy.

So what’s up with Retweeting?

Back in the day if you wanted to Retweet or share with someone you copied their:

  • Name
  • Tweet
  • Created a new tweet and put the letters RT in front of it

This was great because it let you share with people that followed you, but it had limits because it took up more space and you had to shorten the tweet and do a LOT of work to get it to look right.

In 2010 twitter enabled “native” Retweets.  This allowed for inline Retweets, for more information see this twitter page.

Today, many twitter CLIENTS (hootsuite, tweetdeck and every mobile client EXCEPT twitter) have the option to support “native”, “old style” or “hybrid” Retweets.

What do these types look like?

Native Retweet on Twitter WEB SITE:


Notice:  This person is NOT someone I follow, but she is IN MY TIMELINE, and retweeted by @monkchips.

Old Style Retweet:

Notice:  Charles used an old style RT, where it appears he copied and pasted someone else tweet.

Most people just have their twitter client, hootsuite, tweetdeck setup to use old style tweets.  Check your client settings for more information.

Why would you want to use native over old style Retweets?

Native Pro’s:

  1. Twitter algorithm looks at native Retweets for influence and tracking.
  2. Gives author credit to the original poster.

Native Con’s:

  1. Can’t add text or +1 or any other comment on the tweet.

Old Style Pro’s:

  1. Ability to add text or +1 or any other comment on the tweet.

Old Style Con’s:

  1. You look like a newbie.

In summary, I always try to use native, unless I HAVE to add my two cents.  Twitter has an amazing help system to understand how to “tweet”.

I encourage to folks to use twitter as it is designed (or being designed), you will learn a lot on how enterprise collaboration tools, like yammer, google plus, jive are being designed.  In essence you are learning the equivalent of email etiquette for 2011 and beyond.

Remember also, you are what you TWEET, so check out the people you wish to ENDORSE!

The best use case for NATIVE RT is the ability to block retweets from people who JUST use twitter to Retweet stuff from people YOU ALREADY follow.