What are some reasons why people would prefer to retweet a message using the old style (RT @someone: Blah blah blah) instead of the new style where it just "forwards" the message to your followers? I can't see an actual benefit to using the old way or am I missing something?

Obviously I am talking about tweets that aren't supplemented with some sort of an additional comment.

Edited for betterness

  • 3
    This is pretty much unanswerable, as you'd have to ask each and every person, though I'd guess a lot of it has to do with control and habit.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Oct 1, 2010 at 19:20
  • I agree with @ChrisF this is open ended and without conclusion. You would be better off discussing this via any of the social media blogs.
    – phwd
    Commented Oct 1, 2010 at 19:26
  • I don't agree. There are likely very technical reasons why some people do it. I just use the regular interface so I'm not familiar with other interfaces Commented Oct 1, 2010 at 19:46
  • I dont twitter but what is the new way? I'll just assume theres no benefit from using the new way even if it happens to be less timing (once again i dont use twitter)
    – user3183
    Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 6:33

8 Answers 8


You can only RT people who have protected accounts by the old RT method.


Technical Answer: The old RT method is easier to implement because, well, it's already been implemented for two years.

Philosphical Answer: Some people don't like how native retweets look because there's an unfamiliar face in their stream. The small retweeted by text isn't enough to make people comfortable with strange people in their home streams.

NobodyCaresist Answer: People want to comment on RTs for some reason.


The new RT API doesn't allow you to add a comment to the tweet your retweeting. So you can't do something like This is awesome! RT @twitter #newtwitter is live!

  • 1
    I've made a note about this in my question already. A lot of people do not put a comment in Commented Oct 1, 2010 at 22:25

It might have to do with twitter clients, for example, in Netvibes the retweet button does it just like you're telling us.

  • Random factoid: the Twitter API also returns the list of retweets as "RT <rest of msg>" when client apps make a call to get them, even when the RT was made using the new RT method.
    – kchau
    Commented Oct 1, 2010 at 20:19
  • @kchau at least the part that fits into 140 chars (which is pretty often a problem with older apps, because the last few characters often belong to the link that the whole tweet is about)
    – balpha
    Commented Oct 1, 2010 at 20:31

I've used twitter since 2008 so back then most people used RT in their tweets and if they're using SMS to RT a tweet, it's most likely out of habit. And I often do that too. Also, twitter's been redoing a lot of features and most people don't even keep up with that.

  • So you think it's because most people don't use the twitter.com interface? I know that one only has the new RT functionality Commented Oct 1, 2010 at 19:44
  • To be honest, I use the Twitter client for Android (official) and it just puts RT. Not sure if that's what the new RT engine does. Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 1:08

I use both -- the new RT when I just want to RT, but the old RT when I want to add my 2c to the tweet, as zigdon said.

  • Yes, I do the same thing. It makes sense to do it that way. Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 2:38

The old version of RT is better for adding commentary to the tweet... if you do the new RT you can't add any additional text to the tweet. Additionally, there might be reasons you want people to see the tweet coming from you instead of from the original source.


The new RT was an attempt by twitter to narrow down the amount of tweets on their servers, which I think gives you the answer.

If you use the old method it is your tweet and you are giving someone else credit for the content.

The new style is you linking to someone else's tweet.

Personally I am far more likely to read something by someone I actually follow and if I like what they have RT'd I will check out the profile of the person who they RT'd

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