One of the most effective ways to amplify your message on Twitter is to get your followers to retweet it to their followers. Retweeting is also becoming a popular way to pass links around Twitter. They are becoming the new currency of the Web because of the power of passed links. One service in particular, Tweetmeme, is cornering the market on retweets by making it easy for blogs and other sites to add a retweet button to every page. You can see one at the bottom of this post, or the one at right. Just click on it, and it will take you to your Twitter account and populate a message with a “RT,” the headline, and a short link. Go ahead, do it now. Do it again. Okay, thanks.
Lots of sites use Tweetmeme’s retweet button, and it drives a lot of its overall traffic. Nick Halstead, the CEO of Fav.or.it (Tweetmeme’s parent company) says that the buttons are so widespread right now that they are generating 196 million impressions a week
month. In other words, that is how many pages load with the buttons every month week, and some portion of those result in actual retweets. Halstead is making some improvements to the retweet buttons. Before each retweet generated by the button would include a promotional “via @tweetmeme.” That has now removed to make more room for the actual headline and link. Next week he is going to introduce an image button which can be included in RSS feeds and emails to spread the retweet love even further. And sites will be able to embed a retweet counter to show how many overall retweets they get every week.
More importantly, the retweet buttons will begin supporting URL shortening service other than bit.ly, and will include an option for sites to choose their own custom short URL. (For instance, we use http://tcrn.ch). Tweetmeme will also offer analytics for site owners to see how their retweets are spreading. Basic data will be free, and Tweetmeme will likely charge for more detailed analyticss. All of this, of course, also turns into valuable data for Tweetmeme to determine the most popular links and stories on Twitter, and makes Tweetmeme itself a better news aggregation site.