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Should we reply before or after the RT on Twitter?

When retweeting and then replying to a tweet at the same time, where should one write their response? Before or after the RT? This is an age-old debate that has raged for some time. In fact it has not even raged, it’s been completely ignored. People are doing their own thing. They’ve turned this into a digital jungle, a lawless outback. Well, that must stop.

I believe that we need a standardised approach. I’m tired of not knowing where to read. Some people enclose their responses with brackets, others with stars and bullets points, all these people do this after the RT. I don’t like it. Not one bit.

Since no one is willing to go balls to the wall and say what should be done, I’ll do it. No, I’m not asking, I’m saying this is how it should be done. They lied to you and said there is democracy on the internet. It’s a dictatorship. Do you think Google, Apple and Facebook ask you first what they should do first? No! They just do whatever the hell they want. Steve Jobs never asked if we wanted copy and paste and forwarding on the original iPhone. He just did it. Like Nike. Then when Facebook wants to make changes they just make them. Welcome to Khaya the dic(k)tatorship people! In fact, just a few days ago Apple made Ellen apologise for making a spoof ad about the iPhone.

I must admit that I am not prone to dictator tendencies, which explains why I am not yet a billionaire. I am in the process of developing and enhancing this skill. As a learner dictator I went on Twitter and asked the following question: “What should a standardised reply to an RT be? Before or after the RT?”

The responses were an overwhelming “Before the RT”. Over 75% agreed. I am an advocate of the response before the RT as well. I will now give you my reasons (See? This is why I am not a dictator, I’m busy giving you reasons when I should just tell you what to do).

I will give you an example of the oldest form of electronic correspondence, email. When you respond to email, the response is never below the original email. We all know this. If your friend (provided you have friends) sends you an email correspondence he or she had with someone else, you read from bottom up. I know some smarty-pants, or to paraphrase Julius Malema, some smarty-trousers will say no but that’s different. Well it’s not. And that’s that.

Let me demonstrate a couple of responses I got after asking the question:

    KailzLubelwana Definately b4. Makes more sense when reading … RT @khayadlanga: What should a standardised reply to an RT be? Before or after the RT?

    @Sentletse Twitter protocol dictates that it’s before “RT” @khayadlanga: What should a standardised reply to an RT be? Before or after the RT?

Besides, the brackets, the stars and dots waste precious characters. I have spoken.

Now follow me and retweet this article!


  • Khaya Dlanga* By day he perpetuates the evils of capitalism by making consumers feel insecure (he makes ads). For this he has been rewarded with numerous Loerie awards, Cannes Gold, several Eagle awards and a Black Eagle. Khaya has an ego-crushing bank balance but an ego-boosting 6.5 million views on the popular video-sharing website YouTube. Africa's top Digital Citizen Journalist in 2008 for innovative use of the internet, at the Highway Africa conference, the largest gathering of African journalists in the world. Jeremy Maggs' "The Annual - Advertising, Media & Marketing 2008" listed him as one of the 100 most influential people in Advertising, Media & Marketing. Winner of Financial Mail's Adfocus New Broom award 2009. He has listed these accolades to make you think more highly of him than you ought to. * The views expressed in this or any future post are not necessarily his own (unless of course you agree with them). [email protected]


  1. Jacques Jacques 12 May 2010

    Hopefully, this comment will then appear above your article.

  2. Mai Mai Mai Mai 12 May 2010

    What the hell is “RT”?

  3. Stephen Browne Stephen Browne 12 May 2010

    Twitter is so banal.

  4. Paul Bedford Paul Bedford 12 May 2010

    Khaya you have been using Outlook too long. A decent client puts the reply to an email below the original mail. One long running web design mailing that I receive will excommunicate you if you dare to top post.

  5. Jennifer Thorpe Jennifer Thorpe 13 May 2010

    Sheesh. very confusing. When I see all of those symbols I just skip and read the next tweet.

  6. Musa Musa 13 May 2010

    Judging from the response or lack thereof, maybe those on twitter do not read you blogs.Could be a concetration span issue.Just saying…

  7. BeeeKaay BeeeKaay 13 May 2010

    Agreed Khaya, those stars, brackets and bullets get very confuse. And one never knows where to start reading those tweets…That dic(K)tatorship is absolutely necessary.

  8. elsa19 elsa19 5 June 2010

    U know u shouldnt talk about what u dont know.
    All whitch u have mentioned have tryd best ways and implemented them.
    Most iditotic articles you have
    And why theres written u have 6.5 milion ego boosting views? Couse they u got not becouse of what u started. U were a funny uneducated mad sociopath clown with no true points to other videos. :D i see u tryng to think positive about yourself by not writing that you didnt earn that but you just joined somebodys views stream. Of course what else to do for a pathetic man then call that as his own earned views. :D

  9. Abongilem if you must know Abongilem if you must know 28 June 2010

    jip you’re so right. Responses after an RT are so annoying. You never know who wrote what…

  10. nthabbie nthabbie 28 June 2010

    Tjo @elsa19 are you being tjatjarag or being for real right now coz im confused?…Back to the topic-I agree.Done.

  11. Rich...! Rich...! 28 June 2010

    There can be no hard and fast rule here, sometimes I want to pre-empt a thought, in which case I want you to see my comment before. Other times I want you to have read the tweet before seeing my comment.

    Context is everything.

    While we’re on the topic though, nothing irritates me more than using an RT where an @reply would be sufficient. The only reason to do this is to show your network how witty your reply was i.e. lame….!

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