Retweet (RT) Hijacking

Do you value increasing your authority online OVER being courteous and nice to other people? (I hope not!)

Do you like to be helpful to other folks? (I hope so!)

Is quoting a tweet (when you could retweet it) being very helpful?  (No!)


Authority Online

Twitter re-Tweets are worth something.  Quite a bit actually. Did you know that? They have substantial authority value online. Google uses them to rank you. As do others. Don’t think so? Read up on it (see the related links below)

Fact: The RT is now used by Google and others as an authority metric. This is a BIG deal….


ReTweet (RT) Hijacking

Quoting a tweet instead of retweeting is not very helpful…especially if you have more followers than the original author of that tweet!

It not only  ‘steals the thunder’ of the other person,  it also does nothing to encourage your followers to retweet that user.

So, what is RT hijacking? It’s when you choose to quote a Tweet instead of actually doing a real, legit RT.

Remember, when you RT, you are doing that person an entire world of good by raising their RT count and therefore, their authority rating online.

Giving someone an RT is doing them a nice favor. It’s a very friendly gesture online!

RT hijacking looks like you are doing the other person a favor, but actually you are not!

The act of choosing to quote a Tweet instead of retweeting is actually not at all helpful!

Here is why: you are, at a minimum, not encouraging your followers to also RT the original author. You are not lending them your network. When you RT a specific Tweet from someone else, you encourage your followers to do exactly the same. And when you RT, you make it easy for your followers to “follow suit” and RT with ONE SIMPLE CLICK.

So, at the minimum, when you choose to quote a Tweet, you are not encouraging  your followers to RT the original Tweet!

At the maximum, you are gathering RT authority for yourself!


Here is how it works:


1. You (PERSON-A) issue a great Tweet, maybe it has a link in it.  The text might be something like this….

Here is my clever saying. Here is a related clever link (link here)


2. PERSON-B now hijacks and publishes that Tweet, as a quote, like this:

RT Here is my clever saying. Here is a related clever link (link here)” via @YourName


This quote is NOT a ReTweet!

It’s a hijack of PERSON-A’s Tweet, see?

Any followers of PERSON-B who RT this are retweeting a copy. They are not retweeting the original author, PERSON-A!

Also notice: When you choose to quote a Tweet rather then RT, you are choosing. It’s a choice!

Question: Even if “quoting a Tweet” is a 1-click action, like RT, as it is on some phones, why choose the “quote” option over the RT ? There is an obvious choice, why intentionally choose “quote tweet” over “retweet” ?



What gives here? Simple:

1. It is now simpler for the many followers of PERSON-B to simply retweet PERSON-B’s hijacked (copied) version of PERSON-A’s Tweet!

And that is exactly what most followers of PERSON-B do. They RT the PERSON-B copy of PERSON-A’s tweet.

No follower of PERSON-B is going to track down PERSON-A and RT the original. Why would they?

Net result? PERSON-B is now getting RTs (and more authority) powered by the clever, attractive, valuable “quoted” Tweet of PERSON-A.

I notice this behavior a lot from people with around 10,000 followers or more. People with over 10,000 followers obviously know the Twitter game and are not ignorant (or otherwise casual) users.

Do these sophisticated users of Twitter understand what they are doing? I’m guessing YES.

The facts are these:

  • When people quote a Tweet, they do so deliberately. They are choosing. Often there is more effort involved as well!
  • Quoting a Tweet does nothing to encourage your followers to RT the original author!
  • Quoting an attractive Tweet from someone else has at least the potential to increase your RT count.
  • Because RTs are valued and counted by Google and Twitter, retweeting someone else’s Tweet is a big win for them. It’ a very friendly gesture.

Quoting their Tweet is not!

And when PERSON-B quoting a tweet has a 10-to-1 or otherwise huge difference in followers, this is an especially rude practice, because you are denying them the potential “RT-ripple-effect” of your network!

So? Be nice.

The Moral of the Story:

  • Be nice! Do not quote Tweets, since they do nothing for the original author in authority terms.
  • Be nice! Retweeting others as much as possible is helpful, and friendly.
  • Be nice! Retweeting sets up the potential for even more RTs of that Tweet…from others who follow you! That’s very helpful to the author!
  • Be courteous! Quoting a Tweet when you can RT with one click is rude! Stop doing that!

Be a force for good: use your Twitter reach to help others build up their authority and presence online, via the RT feature of Twitter.

Stop quoting Tweets …and help give the author a little bump in authority online, by intentionally retweeting them instead, and in so doing, encouraging your followers to do the same.

If you want to comment on an interesting Tweet, ReTweet is, then say whatever you want to say with your next Tweet. Be nice.

Related Post: In Praise of the Naked RT

Related Links: