What are the primary motivations for retweeting? There are countless of quasi answers out there but very little substantial research. Unfortunately I do not bring you one.

I run a little experiment the other day. I said I was running a “Retweet” experiment and asked my followers to RT!

I was not sure what to expect, but it turned out that about 13 people did actually retweet within the first hour.

Now, two days later, the picture is like this:

New Retweets

Please Retweet








Old Retweets

Please RT













If there is an immediate conclusion to be drawn, is that far more people use the new RT method (the one provided by twitter).

As to why people RT, the answer remains open to speculation. It seems though that what Dan Zarrella has found/suggested (that ‘Please RT’ is a strong factor to get retweeted) is valid and valuable.


One thought on “Why do we retweet?

  1. I prefer the new RT because it is less intrusive and handles bigger tweets. I understand, though, that metrics-wise, the old RT is much better.

    Statistically, I think this is difficult to measure, as even the size of the tweet is important. A quick search shows that old RT is considered better by many, but I didn’t find any significant metrics.

    I think the reason we RT on request is because, for one reason or another, we trust the one who asks (or we like the content anyway).

    BTW, why do we retweet during events with #hashtags? Isn’t the purpose of the hashtag to allow anyone to follow a stream without the need for retweets?

    I suggest we discuss and use “announcement of a stream” rules and not RT from then on. Whoever wants to follow it, does. For the rest, retweets are just noise that also pollutes the original stream as well.

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