Retweets are not endorsements

Having recommended that you don’t retweet like a journalist, I now need to say that retweets are not endorsements.retweet

My earlier post talked about how journalists frequently retweeted people especially political accounts but always maintained that doing so was not an endorsement. While I could see their argument especially as it related to their job to share information, I urged folks not to follow their example.

Rather I urged people to add a comment before their retweet to indicate if they agreed with it or why they were retweeting it. Still good advice but much less commonly done because it’s less convenient to do so.

Without getting into a big explanation of changes to Twitter and the history of retweeting, let me simply say Twitter has evolved.

The “traditional” or “regular” retweet (indicated by RT is rare).

Hit “Retweet” on the Twitter website or an app on your phone or tablet and off it goes to your followers. There’s no opportunity to add your two cents worth.

It goes exactly as originally tweeted. Your followers may not even notice that you retweeted it.

Old timers like me have held on to the original way of retweeting but with so many new folks on Twitter over the last few years, the norm has changed. I’ve found that even I use the current retweet style more often than not.

It’s increasingly tough not to simply hit retweet. Sure you can do it but a huge difference is that the current norm for retweeting no longer needs to take into account Twitter’s 140 character limit. You can easily retweet even a 140 character tweet whereas in the old days your RT needed to stay within 140 characters including the “RT @username” before you could even add any comment.

The result is that people no longer worry about the length of a tweet to make it easier to retweet. Their tweets are as long as they want (up to 140 characters)–without leaving space for attribution or comments. So that means that a lot of shortening (aka editing) is needed for a traditional retweet. As that gets more challenging, I find I’m less likely to do so.

So I’m waving the white flag and retracting the advice in my earlier post.

In 2015, retweets are not endorsements. Go ahead retweet like a journalist. Or more accurately, keep retweeting as journalists have been doing for years.