As you can see, the text from the first tweet is completely copied in the ReTweet. Wait a minute… copy and pasting! Would you copy and paste someone else’s blog post into your own? No, so why do it on Twitter?

It would be far more interesting and unique to Tweet the following instead:


I am still referencing the original link and the use of via @tferriss is clearly giving credit to the original Tweeter. But, most importantly, I get to convey this information in my own words. This is vital to keep Twitter content unique, fresh and current, and prevents the now ubiquitous duplication thanks to RT-ing.

RT retweets using (mostly) straight copy/paste are not only legal under fair use (with proper reference) doctrine (not to mention desirable for the Retweeted Twitter user, the original “author”).

They are also a valuable form of social recommendation/endorsement, that is mostly measurable due to the uniformity of the Retweets. It’s a form of social filtering mechanism that can be extremely valuable in this age of information overload if used the right way.

And the fact that it can happen QUICKLY without too much complexity allows for a higher rate of actual usage. Complexity (and yes, thinking up a rephrase for someone’s tweet is adding complexity) kills “conversion” (taking of the desired action). Simplicity wins.

In real life, people repeat/rebroadcast all sorts of quick, social-interest messages, without feeling a particular need for originality. If changes to the original do occur, it is mostly by way of accident, embellishment, asf.

It is in my view a mistake to try to go against a meme as successful as the “Retweet”, which has seen rapid adoption despite the fact that Twitter doesn’t even formally enable it!

(There is still no retweet button, and I have written previously on how Twitter’s failure to popularize their own “Favorite” button due to lack of action-feedback may have led to the rise of the Retweet).

Overall, there still seems to be plenty of variability in Retweet formulations due to lack of formal agreement about the format, as well as people’s need for self-expression, abbreviation, etc.

So no, I’d say there isn’t a “better way”, that which grows organically usually works. And since this is NOT a behavior I regard as corrosive to the community (unlike spammy stuff a la TweeterGetter and Hummingbird), there is no need to fix anything.

Just enjoy the innovations (hourly retweet trend/rank lists, etc.) that have already spontaneously sprung from it. Cheers!