Can People Retweet if It's Private?

by Aaron Charles

On Twitter there are two ways to tweet: the protected way and the unprotected way. In the protected way, you have a public profile that makes all your tweets visible -- even to those who aren't yet following you -- and that allows anyone to follow you without pre-approval. Conversely, a private profile protects your tweets so that only those whom you've approved as followers can see your tweets. It also means that none of your tweets can be re-tweeted using Twitter's re-tweet feature -- even by people following you.

Retweet Feature

The tweets from a person with a public Twitter profile will have the following clickable options at the bottom of each tweet: Reply, Retweet, Favorite and More. Clicking the Retweet link will add that tweet -- just as it appeared originally -- to your Twitter feed. However, a person who has a private profile only has the Reply and Favorite options visible. You simply cannot retweet that person's tweets the way you can a public tweet. However, there is a "back-door" way that you can.

Retweet Alternative

Instead of relying on the clickable Retweet link, you can just copy and paste a person's tweet into your own "Compose New Tweet" box. Then put the persons Twitter handle before it (e.g. @handle). Before the Twitter handle, put the letters "RT," ensuring that there's at least a single space between "RT," the handle and the tweet. This will post the tweet on your Twitter feed but it will not reveal the Twitter photo of the Tweet's author, as is the case when using Twitter's Retweet feature.

Considerations

If your Twitter profile is set to private and you want others to be able to retweet your tweets more directly by using the Retweet feature, you'll have to set your profile to the public setting. This is also true if you're attaching hashtags to your tweets. While hashtags are designed to make tweets more visible, just adding a hashtag to a tweet from a private profile won't make that particular tweet public and "retweetable."

Changing Settings

If you set your profile to private when you were setting up your Twitter account and you want others to be able to retweet your tweets, you can change your profile to public. Just click the gear icon in your Twitter profile and select "Settings" from the drop-down menu. Then un-check the "Protect My Tweets" box and click "Save Changes." Thereafter people will be able to retweet your tweets using Twitter's retweet feature.

About the Author

Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."

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