Understanding the Power of ReTweets (RT’s)

April 28th, 2009 |


Ploked.com is all about being plugged into social media. We strive to provide informative, relevant, and unique perspectives in the world of social media.

We are all aware of the power Twitter possesses, however I know some people don’t fully understand the concept or power of retweeting.  One way to think of a retweet is to compare it to forwading an email you may have received.  The email you are forwarding should contain interesting or relevant information to the people you are forwarding it to.

This same underlying principle can be applied to the concept of retweets.  When retweeting, you are telling your followers that the information you are posting is worthy of a look or a read.  Hopefully you have built a great relationship with your followers and more than likely are interested in what you are retweeting about.  Also, any tweet you create may be viewed as something by your followers and they could decide to retweet your tweet.

The Power of a Retweet

Ok, so you provided a useful tweet and one of your followers decided it was worthy of sharing.  Great!  But this is only the beginning of a snowball effect.  If your tweet was really worth retweeting, others will more than likely retweet as well.

This is graphically explained in the image below…but let’s say your profile is the one of the far left.  You tweet about your new blog post.  This tweet then shows up in all of your followers twit streams.  Let’s say one of your followers with 4,700+ followers decides to retweet your post.  Then one of these 4,700 followers retweets their retweet to their own 1,600+ followers, who in turn gets retweeted by a follower who has 2,100+ followers, and hopefully the cycle continues.  Just across these 4 accounts, you have the potential to be seen by thousands of twitter users!  And it doesn not end there either….it just keeps on going assuming you have something worth retweeting.


This is a rather simple explanation, but in reality, you can also think of it like this…let’s say your account has 2,000 followers so when you send out a tweet, it has the opportunity to be seen by 2,000 people should all your followers be online at the same time as well as looking at their twitstream.  However, we know that is not the case.  I would say a safe assumption would be about 5-10% (these are my guestimates…it could be more or less) of your followers should be online at any given time.  So with this in mind, your tweet would have been seen by 100-200 people.

Of these 100-200 followers, maybe you get a handful of them who retweet your message to their followers.  Then your tweet is seen by roughly 5-10% of their followers and the cycle continues.  Think of it as a pyramid scheme of sorts.  You are the top piece of the pyramid, which tells 2-3 people who tell 2-3 people each, which tell 2-3 more people and so forth.  As you can see the growth can be exponential.

How to Get Retweeted?

Now that you understand the power of a retweet, how do you go about getting retweeted?  There are several variables that go into this, which I won’t go into detail here.  However, I will say that you need to have content worth retweeting, a title that engages your reader to clickthrough, and overall a little bit of luck.

Btw, To see the power of a retweet yourself, feel free to retweet this to your followers and see how many of them retweet it to their followers and so forth.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/gilberto_g52121 Gilberto Galea

    Great suggestion!, now I'll retweet this post!.
    Right now, with the Swine flu, is incredible the impact about how twitter influence over the info that we can to get. And any government or overseas foundation feel comfortable because cannot control of info.

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  • BattyJanice

    RT's do have great power. Unfortunately, as with all things Internet and media related, sometimes the information being retweeted is bad or innaccurate. Google or Yahoo search any topic, and you'll be sure to find a thousand sites, many with completely different or contradictory information. Makes it difficult to weed out the reality from myth form outright lies.

  • BattyJanice

    I just want to emphasize- before you tweet "facts" make sure they can actually be verified by more than 1 source. When you re-tweet- you should do the same to prevent the spread of erroneous information. Sometimes this information may be a harmless error. Sometimes this information may be "benign" rumor. Other times, it may be outright slander, and in worst case scenarios, the assumption that a tweet, RT , RT'd RT can spread potentially terrifying false information.

  • BattyJanice

    Most victims of this "info" will recover- but all it takes is 1 unbalanced individual to take slander as reality and cre4ate horro- such as we recently saw at The National Holocaust Meseum. All it takes is one mentally ill person, one misguided person, or one fanatical person to touch and destroy another's life or stability. And it never stops with just that one person- the effects reach out in geometric proportions from the epicenter.__All I am trying to say is- be careful what you tweet or retweet- verify your info, and consider the effects it may have on another. One life destroyed due to thoghtlessness is one too many- and it's never just one. ————————^v^ @BattyJanice

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  • http://twitter.com/trillionfriends/statuses/1670065368 trillionfriends (Raj Arvin)

    Understanding the Power of ReTweets (RT’s)

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  • Kyle

    Why do you block digital nomads?  I'm in Mexico(not some crazy spam haven) and just got blocked by  http://www.proxynetwork.ws/blo… so I had to use a proxy to see the link a friend sent me.  Seems odd to me.  Regardless thanks for the post!

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