I noticed something a while back regarding “new” retweets… While it looks like Tweetdeck measures “new” retweets, I started suspecting it wasn’t catching all of them.
First, let’s get on the same page about what an old retweet vs. new retweet is. (Sorry this will be very basic for most users but just want to make sure we all understand what I’m talking about) The interesting thing about Twitter is the social network’s functions started out as VERY basic and the developers have always paid attention to how users use the software and has adapted as a result. (What a concept!). So, for example, in the very early days of Twitter, people started conversing by typing @username before their tweets to address a specific person, so Twitter adapted by making it a clickable link to that person’s profile and adding a replies tab so you could see who was talking to you. This is also how the hash tag got its start.
Anyway, another user-generated activity was retweeting. What users would do was simply copy and paste someone else’s tweet (including their user name) with the letters RT at the beginning. Often times you’d have to edit the original tweet to fit in the 140 character limit. Here’s what an old RT looks like in Tweetdeck:
While Twitter has implementing “new” retweets, many users prefer (myself included) to use old style RTs. Particularly because it allows you to add commentary to your tweet. Also as a user you can turn off the ability to see new RTs from your followers so you don’t really have the assurance of who will actually see a new RT. However, when I really want to RT something that’s over the character limit I do use new retweets from time to time. Also, while Tweetdeck gives you the option to choose new or old style RT, if you ever use Twitter.com or its mobile apps, it’s much more difficult to do an old style tweet.
So new retweets is simply clicking a button that displays your original tweet in the timeline of the followers of the person who retweeted you (minus anyone who asked not to receive RTs of course), with a note that says who retweeted you. I noticed that unlike some other third party apps, Tweetdeck does report new retweets:
Oh, that’s great, it means you can count all your retweets in one place! Or so I thought… Since I do often log into Twitter.com and use it on my phone, I started noticing retweets not reported in Tweetdeck but coming through Twitter.com. What I figured out is this: Tweetdeck only reports new retweets from other Tweetdeck users. So if I RT you from my mobile or Twitter.com (which I just said I do often) then you’ll never see it in Tweetdeck.
Why does this matter?
Why do you need to know # of RTs, other than to feed your own ego? (which, if you are, this blog post is probably great news for you, it may be happening more than you thought!! 😉
What if you’re a brand and holding a contest measured on RTs?
What if you’re reporting back on the success of a project and including RTs? (I hope you’re also measuring outcomes, but this is important to understand the process).
How do you measure retweets? Any tools you use? I’ve found Tweetreach.com to be pretty accurate but I haven’t looked around too much…