Twitter continued to improve user experience last week by launching a new option to quote Tweet.
The Evolution of the Retweet
Long-time Twitter users will be aware of once of the most basic Twitter functions: the Retweet. Each Tweet has a Retweet icon (like a squared off recycling logo) that allows you to forward other people’s Tweets to your own followers.
In the beginning, the only way to Retweet was to copy and paste the Tweet you wished to share, and use “RT @Username: …” to denote a Retweet. Twitter quickly caught on that people wanted to share each other’s content, and created the Retweet button as we know it. The Retweeted Tweet (say that fast 10 times) is sent to your followers as is, straight from the horse’s mouth.
However, many people hung on to the “RT @Username: …” format, which allowed them to add comments to their Retweets, as well as staying a part of any ensuing discussion. Twitter platforms, such as Hootsuite and the iOS and Android apps, incorporated this into their functionality, allowing users to Retweet or quote – a quote including the original Tweet in the new Tweet as plain text. The main issue with this was the character count. Tweets are limited to 140 characters; if the original Tweet used 120 characters, then you add “RT @Username:”, there won’t be much room for a comment. If the original Tweet uses all 140 characters, you would have to modify the Tweet (“MT”) or give up on quoting the Tweet altogether.
Introducing the Quote Tweet
The powers that be at Twitter have heard our woes, and last week they introduced the cure. Now, when users click the Retweet icon, they are invited to add a comment. If you don’t comment, the message will be sent as a normal Retweet. However, adding a comment means your comment becomes the Tweet, and the Tweet you’re sharing is embedded within your Tweet.
It’s a tough one to explain because of all the similar terms, so allow me to explain with the aid of images.
My three latest Tweets show the three different kinds of Retweet that are now available. The first is an old fashioned quote. I’ve copied and pasted the Tweet from @GavWard, added a comment of my own, and Tweeted it. In the second, I’ve Retweeted @Moore_Legal using the new quote Tweet function. You can see that the original Tweet from @Moore_Legal has been embedded in my Tweet. The third Tweet is a straight Retweet without commenting, which has just pushed @UnlockTheLaw’s Tweet to my followers.
Improved Social Media Marketing for Law Firms
So how will this affect your social media strategy? Prior to this roll out, I would have recommended keeping Tweets to around 100 characters, to encourage other users to Retweet with their comments. Similarly, comments added were limited.
With the new functionality, both the original Tweeter and the Retweeter are free to use the whole 140 characters to get their point across. This presents a whole new networking opportunity! It also allows lawyers to showcase their expertise. When Retweeting legal news, you now have the characters available to include a link to a relevant landing page or blog on your website.
The shortfall of the new function is that if your Tweet is Retweeted, then THAT Tweet is Retweeted; your initial Tweet doesn’t get carried on. This means you might end up left out of a conversation that you instigated – not ideal! Hopefully we’ll see Twitter improving this shortly.
Social Media Advice & Marketing Management for Lawyers
If all the Tweets, Retweets, quote Tweets and RTs have you boggled, don’t worry! We’re also available on traditional communication. Call us on 0808 163 5548, fill in the form to the right, or send a carrier pigeon*, and we’ll sort your law firm’s social media marketing out for you.
*We can’t take responsibility for the care of your pigeon.