Why you should use “old style” retweets

Update April 30, 2013: This blog post is out-of-date. At some point recently, HootSuite has begun to support Web retweets in its Lists. So, go ahead and use Web retweets unless you want to editorialize on a tweet in which case you’ll need to use the good ‘ole “RT @Username” retweets.

When Twitter first introduced their retweet button (which they call “Web retweets”) in late 2009 / early 2010, I was excited. Here was a chance to pass tweets to my followers without sacrificing almost 20 characters to include the “RT @[username]” prefix.

I was new to Twitter at the time. As I followed more and more users, I sorted them into Lists, then started using HootSuite to track and manage the flow of tweets. Somewhere along the way, I came to realize I wasn’t seeing web retweets. Sometimes I’d even see “Sorry about that last retweet, the link doesn’t work” even though there had been nothing from that user.

Web retweets are not seen in Lists

Turns out, web retweets do not show up in your Lists. According to a post in HootSuite help (posted verbatim):

Twitter does not display Twitter Web Retweets in Lists…

A twitter list is limiting in nature  it gives you a subset of your whole twitter feed.  I like the fact that web retweets aren’t in there – they are literally somebody else’s tweet that i did NOT put in the list.

While I understand the rationale, given the widespread use of HootSuite and TweetDeck, how many retweets are we missing.

A reason to use old style retweets

This information made me realize how many tweets that I had intended to pass along to my followers—because they were interesting, useful or amusing—were never seen. While I understand the rationale that seeing someone you do not follow in your stream can be jarring, consider that someone you follow wants you to see that tweet.

So if you want your followers—more and more of whom are no doubt usings Lists—return to the days of the old school retweet. This will mean that some tweets may need to be shorter, but what the hell. If you can’t shorten a tweet to make it fit, you can always use the retweet button on Twitter.com.

Setting old style tweets in HootSuite

To do this in HootSuite:

  1. Go to Settings > Preferences
  2. Uncheck “Use Twitter Web retweets.”

How to see others’ retweets in HootSuite

While web retweets will not show up in your lists, there is a way to see the retweets of those you follow in  HootSuite:

  1. Click the + button to add a Stream
  2. Select Twitter from the menu on the left
  3. Select your profile from the top dropdown
  4.  Select “Retweets to me” from the bottom dropdown menu
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2 Responses to “Why you should use “old style” retweets”


  1. 1 Eric A December 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Still learning to navigate hootsuite, How do you RT from your lists area?

    thanks

    • 2 Matt Moore December 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      Eric – Hover over any message and some icons will appear in the top right. Second icon from the left is two arrows chasing each other (similar to the Twitter.com retweet button). However over it and a “Retweet” tooltip will pop up. Click it and away you go…


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