The Silly Art of the Clever Retweet

A few of my Twitter followers have complimented me on my tweets and retweets.

First, thank you. Second, not sure I can really explain how I do it.. my so-called creative process. That said, it is available for this limited time only and for $29.95 and a SASE it too can be yours. IDK follow some funny tweeters… that’s what I do.

Tricks for a Clever Tweet or Retweet
someecards.com - creating pointless Twitter hashtags is hard work.

  • Be silly. Gini wrote about grammar pet peeves; I tweeted about being “edumacated.”
  • Be clever. Maybe look into puns. I’ve watched Firefly and various Whedon products, so I’m big on the quippy dialogue.
  • Be creative. See also, Howie G HAIC (Head Alien in Charge) over at Sky Pulse Media.
  • Follow the lede. If the headline is WOW, lead with it then follow with a << comment. Griddy does this too.
  • Follow your gut. If you waxed pithy in your comment, by all means recycle that as your RT.
  • Make it up. Silly abbreviations and fake hashtags can be funny. #trustmeonthis IANADBIPOOTV
  • Answer it. If the headline asks a question, tweet your brilliant, profound answer.
  • Pop culture. Famous quotes and movie lines may be just the ticket.

Cautionary tales.

Just as there are good ways to tweet, there may be a few things to avoid.

  • Cliches. They can work but best to use wisely, sparingly.
  • Profanity. I use it, but usually when tweeting I’ll change “bullshit” to the softer, gentler “crap.”
  • Best EVER! Whether you’re promising the best post, comment, picture or video ever, it’s almost always a let down. Don’t go there.

Good post, Bad headline? If the headline doesn’t do a post justice, look for:

  • Clever bullet points
  • Smart quotes
  • Killer conclusion
  • Rocking comments

Usually there is something in the post and/or comments, something that will jump out as being ripe for an eye-grabbing tweet. Obviously this works best if you actually read the post before you RT it.

Best way to make a post tweetable: Shorter headlines.

I crack wise that my wit is wordy, an excuse for my shameful abuse of texting acronyms and verbose comments. Really though if your headline is shorter it makes it easier to add a little somethin’ somethin’ to it.

Marcus Sheridan writes some killer posts that also sometimes come with long post titles. May be good for SEO, but tricky for tweeting. So when Marcus wrote about ego getting in the way of business success, my RT process was like this:

  1. Edit, edit, edit. I cut his headline to be ‘Ego and dumbass mistakes.’
  2. I added the intro: Is your ego writing checks your business can’t cash?

I have no idea if my tweet got any more clicks, just an example. So that’s my RT process. What’s yours?

Photo credit: A Someecard.

Fine print: I WILL print and mail this to anyone who cuts me a check; happily cash it, buy myself some wine or go get my nails done.

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29 thoughts on “The Silly Art of the Clever Retweet

  1. I am new to your blog and I didn’t follow you on Twitter. Now I do, I had to check out what you were talking about and you have got a great sense of retweeting. No pointlessly tweeting the tweets. Looking forward to your amazing tweets! They seem very interesting. I am addicted! 🙂
    Hajra recently posted..Reasons I am Breaking Up With Your Blog!

  2. Davina,

    I normally just randomly click on buttons making grunting noises in hopes that I can relay my message to the world. The tips you provide make a lot more sense than me screaming at the screen which I normally do often. You have helped me become a twitter beginner. That is one level up from a twitter idiot. I graduated, yes!
    Frank recently posted..He Fell For It!

    1. It’s me – not Davina (unless she is typing as I am typing!) I’m just following you around the Blogosphere Frank, laughing at your comments.
      Oh yeah, congratulations on progressing to the level of Beginner! I haven’t tried screaming at the screen yet, but I have applauded it. Does that mean I’m still at the former level!?
      Lori
      Lori Gosselin recently posted..Are You Following Your Inner Voice

      1. Heh, you two.. so much fun. I’m yelling at TweetDeck right now but that’s a tech fail thing, hadn’t tried it for Twitter.. “SLOW down already… I can’t read and click that fast.” Nope, doesn’t work. 😉

    2. Oh yes Frank, graduation day it is. 😉 I have no idea if my tweets are all that special, I mean it’s not like I have a gagillion followers. But those 6-13 people that actually pay attention to me on any given day do seem to think it works, so I figured I’d share and see what happens. I’ll be following your tweets, see how it goes.

  3. Hi Davina,

    This post had some great tips! I wish I had read it weeks ago. I just figured out to quit “burying the lead” and to reassemble RT’s to put the identifier info at the end.

    I agree with restating the headlines as well. My posts tend to have longish headlines, so I am getting practice on my own material. But it’s even more important for RT’s, as you have even less room to work with. Ironically, I tweeted one of Marcus’ posts today and shortened the headline. 🙂

    Thanks for the great pointers!

    1. One of the arguments I’ve read about Twitter helping professionals improve their writing skills Adam has always been the forced brevity. No rambling, no filler. I know my language choices are sometimes more exact or precise, since I can’t blather on and on like I do in comments.

      I too end up burying my lead.. or getting to my conclusion too soon; I cut and paste posts all the time, most stuff around figuring out what’s the better intro vs. conclusion. My tweets and RTs that share posts, they are about the headline/title and how it encapsulates a post. Then it’s want can I do (add, subtract or both) to make someone want to click and read? Glad you liked this.

  4. I think it’s SO IMPORTANT to create your own RTs (after all, blind RTs mean you ASS-U-ME) and you are the master of this (and at acronyms that have us all trying to figure out WTH you’re trying to say). Plus it’s kind of fun to see how creative you can get in less than 120 characters.
    Gini Dietrich recently posted..When Metrics Lie

    1. You know ITA Gini about creating your own tweets/RTs. IMHO My tweets show 1) that I actually read or scan the posts I tweet and 2) that I put some time and thought into what I share, even when it’s not mine. Hopefully that helps my followers find good stuff, start to trust and appreciate following me, all that good networking juju… plus as you say, have some fun and show some creativity too.

    1. Ya, didn’t even think about that but yeah.. tweets about posts about Twitter and getting RTs do make the rounds Barrett, you’re right. Plus it got YOU to comment too, so that’s a win.

  5. LOL Davina, this should be required reading for anyone on Twitter. Seriously, this was great. And may I also take this opportunity to apologize for my long titles– Please forgive– I actually don’t do it for SEO, I do it because I hate crappy titles that have no emotion, and I want to have a message with the title as well, just enough to get people interested, which in turn makes it hard for lovely tweeters like yourself, so again, please forgive!!! 🙂

    But back to the post, I’m going to inform Mark Schaefer that this needs to be added to the Tao of Twitter, because it’s awesome!!! 🙂

    Thanks for teaching us all your ways oh Master Brewer, the twitter force is strong with you. 🙂

    Marcus
    Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion recently posted..Baseball- Persistence- and How I Became a ‘Natural’ Writer

    1. Never know, maybe Mark will do a sequel someday. I like your long titles Marcus, they are a lot of fun. MY headlines and post titles sometimes get long … just requires some chopping for that optimal Twitter retweetableness. I do try to mix it up when I share, see what happens. So my young apprentice, may the puns be with you. 😉

    1. I’m fine with puns or sass or made up words, really anything that can make a post, headline or tweet standout. I do also write for SEO if I can, but somethings the clever or silly just fits. Marianne, I like changing up Shakespeare idea, or any well-known quote.. my goal is to catch the eye AND fit the post a little if I can too. FWIW.

    1. Thanks Christina. You know Marcus’ headline wasn’t bad really, it’s just that when limited to 140 characters, you gotta think short. As in 120 so it still can be RT too. Reading his post I was like, let me cut to the heart of it, add a little quip and just see. Glad you liked the example. 😉

        1. You do. I sometime fudge it and leave only 14-15 characters, but if I can I try for 20. I include the @handle of the author when I can, but also the @handle of the tweeter as well, esp. if it was THEIR tweet that made me want to click, read, share. FWIW.

  6. Hey Davina,
    I’ll just bookmark this for my next RTs – thanks! You really are great at this and now you’ve given us the tools so we can make Twitter a more interesting place to be!
    Lori

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