Like, Retweet, and Quote Tweet: Understanding the Twitterverse

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Twitter is one of the biggest social media platforms to date. With over 330 million active users on mobile alone, the network is buzzing with people talking about the latest news, the most interesting ideas, and happenings within their small circle or even their country – in just 280 characters or less.

However, you may find that Twitter can be confusing to navigate at first. How does one “quote a tweet” on Twitter? What’s the difference between a Like and a Retweet? Who can or can’t see my Tweets? Some may compare it to Facebook, the biggest social media website at the moment, and find the differences too hard to understand.

But when you break down Twitter’s jargon – specifically the Like, Retweet, and Quote Tweet features – you can see that it’s not very different from Facebook, except that Twitter provides tidbits whereas Facebook is much longer. If you’re interested in entering the Twitterverse and seeing what the social media website has to offer, here’s an in-depth explanation on what these are.


What’s a Like?

A like is a sign that a person likes or agrees with your Tweet. It’s similar to the way you can like posts on Facebook, but Likes on Twitter are represented by the small hearts below your Tweet. There’s no limit to the number of likes you can get.

If you are a public account (that’s an account that is visible to everybody on Twitter), even people who aren’t following you can like your Tweets. But if you are a private account, because non-followers cannot see your Tweets, the only ones who can like your Tweets are your followers.

As the person who wrote the Tweet, it feels nice to see plenty (or even just one or two people) agree with you by giving your Tweet a like. It means they like what you have to say. As a person liking Tweets, if you like someone’s Tweet, you don’t have to automatically give it a like and can simply pass it on. But the benefit of liking others’ tweets is that other people can see the Tweets you like (go to your profile page and you’ll see a tab dedicated to all the Tweets you’ve liked), and if you want to explore all the Tweets you liked, you can also visit this tab.


How Do I Like a Tweet?

Liking a Tweet is similar to how you would like a post on Facebook. Let’s say that you’re scrolling through your Twitter feed and you see a Tweet you like. It can be a Tweet that made you laugh, is interesting, or just something you enjoyed reading and agreed with.

Below this Tweet, for example, you can see four icons: replies, retweets, likes, and more. Replies are Tweets directed at the original post, similar to the comments you see on Facebook. Retweets are people who liked this Tweet so much that they want it featured on their own profile when someone goes through it (more on this later). And the other options include sending the Tweet to another user via private message, adding the Tweet to Bookmarks, or copying the link to the Tweet so you can share it with other people outside of Twitter. However, if you’re going to share a Tweet, remember that a private account will not show what the Tweet is to non-followers.

To like the Tweet, tap or click on the heart. The heart will turn pink and the number of likes will increase by one, but if the Tweet already has so many likes like the one above, you only see a rough estimate and may not see it changed. If you made a mistake and liked a wrong Tweet or want to undo your like, simply tap or click on the heart again. It will turn gray once more.


Will People Know If I Like Tweets?

There are two ways people can know what Tweets you’ve liked. First, they can easily go to your profile and look under the “Likes” tab, which shows all the Tweets you’ve liked. If you’re a public account, anyone can go through your liked Tweets, but if you’re a private user, only your followers can browse through this tab.

Second, your followers can see what you’ve liked based on your activities. In this example, I see on my feed that WeRateDogs – a Twitter account that, as the name goes, rates dogs – liked Tweet. We’re not sure how Twitter’s algorithm works, but it’s possible that since I’ve like a lot of WeRateDogs’ Tweets (and Tweets about dogs in general), Twitter must have thought that this post would also interest me even if I’m not following the Tweet’s author.

If you like a viral Tweet that has over a thousand likes, the author will be notified that you liked their Tweet. But because you and hundreds of others are liking it, chances are, they won’t get to see your name and it may just say “@RandomTweeter and 100 others liked your Tweet.” Celebrities on Twitter can garner thousands of likes from their fan bases, so it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be notified that you specifically liked their Tweet.


Can I Know If My Followers and Other Users Like My Tweets?

On the other hand, if it’s your Tweet in question, you will be notified of who liked your Tweet.

If a user likes more than one Tweet of yours, their notifications will cascade into one notification like this example. If multiple people like your Tweet, you will see a list of profile photos and something along the lines of “X, Y, and Z liked your Tweet.” If your Tweet happens to go viral and you haven’t turned off notifications for that Tweet (people do this if they don’t want their phones to ring every five seconds each time another person likes their post), you will just see a much larger version of this.


Can I Like Tweets Made By Private Users?

Again, if you are a public account, strangers and followers alike can like your Tweets. But if you’re on private, only people you allow to follow your account can like your Tweets. If your friend is on a private account, you can tell by the lock symbol next to their name. You can still like Tweets even if they are private.


What’s a Retweet?

If Twitter’s hearts are to Facebook’s thumbs up, then Twitter’s Retweets are simply Facebook’s shares. Retweet is a step above Likes. A like says that you agree with the Tweet author, but a Retweet means that you agree so much with the author that you want to share their Tweet with the rest of your followers.

Because it’s possible that your followers don’t follow the same people you do, retweeting a post puts that Tweet you like on their radar, and then they, too, can Retweet and share with the rest of their followers. It’s possible to both like and retweet a post, but there are some major differences between the two, mostly visibility.


How Do I Retweet?

Let’s take a look at this viral Tweet from user @PixlPixel, for example. This Tweet made me laugh and I wanted to share it with my friends. To do so, I have to retweet this.

Click or tap the Retweet icon and you’ll be given two options: Retweet, and Retweet with Comment. The latter is more known as “Quote Tweet,” and we’ll get to that later, but if you just want to retweet without providing your own comment on it, select “Retweet.”

The icon will turn green, which signifies that you’ve retweeted the post. Your followers will now see it on their feed, and they may retweet it in turn. If you change your mind, simply select the Retweet icon once more and then choose “Undo Retweet.” It will be removed from your followers’ feed (assuming they or the other people they follow haven’t retweeted that same post) and it will no longer appear on your profile.


Will People Know If I Retweet?

If your followers see a random Tweet from a person they don’t even follow, they will see above the post that they’re seeing it because you retweeted it.

In my case, I’ve seen this post by someone I don’t follow, but I know I’m seeing it because it says one of my friends that I follow, Joseph, retweeted it.


How Do I Find Out Who Retweeted My Tweet?

Sometimes, you could have made a Tweet that others think is worth a Retweet. If so, you’ll be notified on your Notifications tab that someone retweeted your post. Similar to Like notifications, many Retweets from one person can result in the post cascading to avoid flooding your notifications with the same person.



Can I Retweet a Tweet from a Private User?

Unlike Likes, though, while you can like a Tweet from someone you follow who set their account to private, you cannot retweet the post of a private user. That’s because retweeting their own private Tweets cancels out the privacy their account entails. If you could retweet their post, then your followers who are not following the private author could see it.

You can tell if a Tweet cannot be retweeted by two signs. First, if you see the lock symbol beside their name, it’s a sign that they’re a private account and you cannot retweet their post. Second, you’ll notice that the Retweet icon is more faded than the Reply or Like icon. You cannot click on the Retweet icon.


What Happens If I Retweet and a User Deletes the Tweet, Goes Private, or Blocks Me?

If you retweet a post only for the author to delete it afterwards, go private, or block you, then that Tweet disappears from your sight. If they delete their Tweet, then technically there’s nothing for you to share. If they go private and you’re not a follower, then you aren’t authorized to view or retweet it. And if they block you, you’re definitely not going to be allowed to see their Tweets.

However, if you perform a Quote Tweet, that author’s Tweet may be gone, but your words in your quote still appear. We explain more about this in the next section.


What Is a Quote Tweet?

A Quote Tweet, also known as Retweet with Comment, is one of the more recent features of Twitter. While Replies, Likes, and Retweets were already a part of Twitter’s features during its inception, Quote Tweets only began in 2015. Prior to this, if you wanted to respond to someone’s Tweet, this is what it looked like:

@OriginalAuthor: I don’t think pineapples on pizza taste good. It’s not my cup of tea, but I understand why other people would like the flavor pairing.


@QuoteTweeter: NO YOUR OPINION IS WRONG AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD YOU HAVE POOR TASTE RT @Original Author I don’t think pineapples… (link to @OriginalAuthor’s Tweet)


Keep in mind that prior to expanding the Tweet character limit to 280 in 2017, the original character count was at 140. Back then quoting Tweets were so tedious and required you to understand word shortcuts just to limit your idea to one Tweet. But when Quote Tweets began, it allowed people to easily see what Tweet the Quote Tweeter was referring to when talking about the original author’s Tweet. Here’s an example from Lady Gaga.

It’s similar to Retweeting, except you can add your own comments to the original poster’s thoughts. While Likes and Retweets signify you agree with the original author, a Quote Tweet can either be good or bad, depending on what you want to say on the Quote Tweet.


Quote Tweet vs. Retweet

If we’re comparing a Twitter Retweet to a Facebook Share, selecting Retweet is the equivalent of selecting “Share Now (Friends)” when you share on Facebook. You don’t feel the need to add your own comment or input on the post and just want to make sure it appears on your friends’ timelines.

But when you select “Retweet with Comment,” it’s like selecting “Share…” on Facebook, taking you to a text box where you can add your comments over the original post, be it a positive or negative comment.


How to Quote a Tweet

Once you’ve found a Tweet you want to comment on, select the Retweet icon and choose “Retweet with comment.” This will take you to a text box where you can add your own input. Type in your comment and then click on the Retweet button on the upper-right corner. Your Quote Tweet will look like this:

This will appear on your followers’ feed as well as your own profile. Like Retweets, you cannot retweet posts from private accounts.


Can I Post GIFs/Videos/Photos with a Quote Tweet?

Prior to the 2019 Twitter update, you couldn’t do anything with Quote Tweets other than to provide your own written opinion on the original author’s Tweet. However, as of writing, you can now add photos, videos, and GIFs to respond to the Quote Tweet.

To start, select the Retweet icon followed by “Retweet with Comment.”

Once you get to this textbox, select whether you want to add your own photos, videos, or find a GIF to add. Unfortunately, you cannot add polls to Quote Tweets just yet. But if Twitter made it possible to add images to Quote Tweets, we’re hoping they can also make polls available!

In this case, we’ve added a GIF taken from the drop-down option. In this example, we’ve added both a GIF and a comment. This is what it would look like on your followers’ feed and on your profile.


Can I Tag Someone on a Quote Tweet?

While writing your comment on a Quote Tweet, you can tag as many people as you want as long as it falls within the character limit. Also keep in mind that when you’re tagging people, they won’t be able to see your Quote Tweet if you’re on private. They’ll see your Quote Tweet if they’re your follower, though.


Can I Quote Tweet from Someone with a Private Account?

Similar with Retweets, because you cannot share a private account’s Tweets by Retweeting, you are also not allowed to Quote Tweet a private user’s Tweet and then comment on it. If you look at the Tweet, you can see the same signs that indicate you can’t retweet it: a lock symbol and a faded Retweet icon.

If you really want people to know what the original author tweeted, you can do it the old-fashioned way done before the Quote Tweet feature existed and copy-paste their Tweet. However, this is a very tedious thing to do and you’ll have to manage the character count. At most times, I’ve found that if they’re private, then it’s highly likely that they won’t appreciate you copying their Tweets and then posting it for everyone to see.


What Happens If the Quote Tweet Is Deleted/Goes Private/Is Blocked?

This is what it looks like when you’ve successfully done a Quote Tweet. If you’re a private account, you can still quote Tweet public posts, but the poster will not be aware of it unless they’re following you.

However, if the original poster decides to delete their Tweet, go private while you’re not following them, or blocks you, this is what you will see.

If you try to click the link, you’ll be directed to a Twitter page saying you’re not authorized to view the Tweet as it may be deleted or you no longer have permission to see it. If this were a simple retweet, it would be as if it never existed. But under Quote Tweet, since this is technically your Tweet citing the author’s Tweet, then it’s partially your Tweet. While you can still see the words you wrote, the parts of your Tweet that belonged to the original author is not yours to share and therefore disappears from your Tweet. In such cases, you have the option of leaving the Tweet as is or deleting the Tweet.


Will the person know I quote tweeted them?

If you’re a public account and the person you quoted is a public account, they’ll be able to see your reply regardless whether or not you follow them. Viral Tweets and celebrities can see all the Quote Tweets done to their Tweet, but because there are hundreds of replies, it’s possible that the original author just chose to ignore your quote if they do not personally know you.

If you are a private user quoting a public account, you can Quote Tweet their post, but they won’t be notified of your Quote Tweet. This is because they don’t follow you, so they don’t know your activity. In their profile, they’ll only be told that someone has retweeted their Tweet, but it won’t mention your handle or what you commented.


It may be difficult to understand how these three features work, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you can understand why many people are flocking to Twitter, making it one of the biggest social media platforms on the internet. Apart from getting the chance to see the thoughts and discussions of celebrities outside of what you see on television, you get the latest news and glimpses of pop culture and notable events – all in 280 characters or less.

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