Retweets are a vital part of conversations on Twitter, allowing users to repost stories, opinions or information to their own feeds, expanding a tweet’s potential reach and impact. This month, Twitter upped the ante and continued its aim of improving user experience by adding the Quote Tweet feature.

Quote Tweet takes traditional retweeting to the next level by allowing users to embed a tweet within their own tweet. In the past, manual retweets meant copying and pasting the text, adding RT plus the original user’s @handle to the front, and shortening or truncating the text if need be in order to get the text to fit within the 140-character limit. If you wanted to add your own comments about what you were retweeting, that meant even more space restrictions.

Embedding a quoted tweet leaves the user room — up to 116 characters, in fact — for them to add commentary, insight or context to what they’re retweeting to their followers. All without having to sacrifice the wording of the original tweet.

It used to be that retweeting was simpler on platforms like Hootsuite, but Twitter is quickly trying to catch up. The Quote Tweet feature is already available on the Web and iPhone® and will be added soon to Android. It’s not, however, available on third-party platforms at this time.

There are a few limitations to the feature. At the moment, Twitter only allows one layer of quoted tweets, so users can’t yet share tweets within tweets within tweets, and photos and videos are smaller than they are in manual retweets. Quoted tweets are also seen as new pieces of content, so they don’t count as retweets.

Additionally, quoted tweets don’t display the retweeted content on third-party embeds. So, for example, if a pharma marketer embedded a quoted tweet from an HCP on their patient support blog, the HCP’s comment would have a link to the original retweeted content instead of the full tweet.

Twitter is continuing to mature and grow as a social media platform, adding features that show it’s interested in developing a complete user experience and expanding beyond 140 characters. Pharma companies should be aware of these changes as they will certainly impact the shape of social conversations and how your brands are seen. We at Intouch will definitely be keeping a close eye on things.