WTF are Manual Retweets?

How 140 Characters can cause a ruckusOmg, so the other day I was reading an article on (I love that mag!). Anyway, I disagreed with one of the points made by Kevin Allen on the Ten Essentials of Twitter Etiquette. But there was one on the list where I was like, what in the heck are they talking about. Of course the article doesn’t explain it, which was a ding to the author’s credibility in my book after he only put a link to the Twitter feed of people complaining about manual retweets. But after some research I did find out what it is and it’s quite the conundrum.

What is a manual retweet?

In a nutshell, it’s when someone is not getting credit for their tweet when someone else retweets it.

Where the confusion comes in…

So a manual retweet can be done in one of two ways:

  1. You choose to retweet something via your mobile phone or a Twitter client which allows you the opportunity to add a comment. When this happens, it puts the tweet in quotes and the person who initially tweeted it doesn’t get credit.
  2. You can copy and paste someone else’s content and manually type in “RT” or “via @xxxx” and then that person doesn’t really get the credit because their face isn’t associated with it.

Here are some examples of manual retweets:

Manual retweet 2_examples


What’s wrong with the above is that if these tweets get retweeted properly, they look like these people “said” what the real author said.

Here are 2 examples of proper, legitimate retweets, which occur naturally when doing it from Twitter desktop client.

Legitimate Retweets


When the above tweets are retweeted by others, it will start to aggregate the number of retweets under the original tweet. The person who originally tweeted it will get brand recognition via their avatar and credit for the tweet.  And it’s harder for brands to measure accurately (see Jennifer’s comment below).

On a personal note, I just don’t take it all that personally (or seriously).  I think I’d be more offended if someone stole my blog content and tweeted it as their own (as it once happened). But I find things like this just are making mountains out of molehills. Let’s not all get our panties in a bunch over a few manual retweets. It’s Twitter for pete’s sake.

What do you think?





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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.


  1. Amen!
    It doesn’t really matter much if the original source has been omitted in the actual tweet. When the people click on the articles which were shared, they will see who the author is anyway.
    I think this fuss is just about tracking and measuring retweets, presenting numbers more than anything. I mean, come on.

    • Tracy Sestili says:

      Hi Jennifer, you make a good point there that in addition to brand/face recognition and credit with being the originator of the tweet, for companies it’s a bigger deal because it does affect their ability to measure accurately. If it’s properly retweeted it counts as a RT, but if it’s modified or manually retweeted, it counts as a @mention instead. Good point!

  2. Hmmmm I constantly RT things and add my thoughts before it. I prefer to hit “quote tweet” on my twitter app (I use Tweetbot) and add in my own thoughts. Original author still gets credit since I mention … who cares if their picture isn’t there?

    • Tracy Sestili says:

      I hear ya Krystal! Apparently people want brand + logo/face recognition. Seems a little silly, but that seems to be what all the hub-bub is about.Also, as Jennifer pointed out in her comment, it does have to do with measuring accurately the Retweet. If it’s manual it will count as a brand mention rather than a RT. I would think this would be more of a problem for bigger brands than individual people.

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