Here’s a question from Julia:
I’ve seen a lot of tweets that start with RT, like this one
I’m thinking it means “Return Tweet”??? But I’m not sure. Is there a new lexicon of TLA’s evolving as a result of Twitter and do you know specifically what this one means? Maybe this should be a RAQ if you think relevant?
Answer: RT means “retweet” or “re-tweet” and it’s a way for one Twitter user to pass along information found on Twitter to his or her circle of followers.
For example, if Julia sees this recent tweet of mine:
She might want to pass it along to her followers, who may or may not be following me. She would use the following syntax:
RT @LeeAase http://snipurl.com/bovi2 – UW selling students’ personal information for $90 apiece
…and would add any additional comments that fit within the 140-character tweet limit.
By using the RT @LeeAase she is crediting me for finding and originally tweeting this, which alerts her followers that I was the source, and then they might decide to follow me directly.
When I originally responded to Julia via email, she replied:
Ah! That makes sense. There have been times I’ve wanted to pass something along, but didn’t want the person I learned it from to think I was stealing their thunder (so to speak). I love that they’ve solved that issue…
That’s exactly the reason for the RT. The ethos of social media is
- to share and pass information along, but also
- to credit the original source.
Two little characters – RT – plus the username of your source, meets both goals in Twitter.