The Quote Tweet enhancement to the traditional Retweet happened in April of 2015. Here's Twitter's tweet about rolling it out, and then here are Twitter's technical directions for how to use it. Basically, a Quote Tweet is a KABLAM of a Retweet. The quote option adds a personal touch to when you want to simply Retweet someone.
An Evolution Of The Retweet
Historically, modifying the Retweet was always possible. Years and years ago, when I first started giving private Tweetworking sessions to people, I gave them homework. That homework stated that they needed to Tweet in general (aka tweeting to no one), Tweet to people on purpose, Reply to people, to simply Retweet people, and the bonus round - to Retweet and include a bit of their own input before the Retweet. Twitter took notice that people were doing this, and they invented an actual button for it - the Quote Tweet - so that you didn't have to mess around with customizing a Retweet. These days, you can't customize a Retweet at all, you just click that little square arrow icon and the tweet is Retweeted. But the Quote Tweet...
The "Quote Tweet" Steps Up The Game Of The "Reply" and of the "Retweet"
The Quote Tweet let's you say something along with your Retweet, while showing people the original tweet. Literally, you're saying something above the Retweet. This gives your readers a frame of reference to what you're talking about quickly. You want to do this because you feel so strongly about what you are Retweeting, that you want to give your followers and readers your own take on what you are passing along to them. Look at these examples:
Example: Simple, Humorous or Showing Your Feelings
This is Barak Kassar. He's the founder of the digital content marketing agency Engage Rassak. He followed me on Twitter one day, so I tapped over to his tweet stream to see what he was all about. Immediately I saw these Quote Tweets, and saw that he was an engaging guy who cared about showing others his opinion of a major event. Even if in brief, he took the time to personalize the Retweet. I liked that. It helped me "get him" a little faster, and I followed back, looking forward to reading his tweets.
Example: Including a Hashtag in That Tweet
Let's say someone tweeted something for you, but they did not include a great hashtag that you know would give the tweet more mileage. Here is an example of the Editor in Chief of Women's Health Quote Tweeting a tweet that someone wrote who was sharing a link with her. Women's Health is building a movement around the hashtag #PaidLeavePays. Another website wrote an article about it, and pinged Amy via this tweet. However, the official hashtag was not used in the original tweet. This is where the Quote Tweet has a huge advantage of spreading the tweet again, but this time, with additional hashtags.
Does The Quote Tweet Replace The Reply?
Could you simply Reply to a tweet that you really get behind or want people to know about? Sure! But your followers wouldn't see it. Replying is not the same as a broadcasted Quote Tweet. Replies are now hidden behind a Reply tab in Twitter. The folks at Twitter decided that Replies between Twitter accounts was getting a little narrow-visioned between two or three people, so they filed them in a Reply tab. Still public info, but not seen by as many people.
Should You Always Quote Tweet? And Forget About Retweeting?
Nah. Retweet is great for quickly showing support of something, or passing along information. In fact, a Quote Tweet every time would make your Twitter stream that much longer. Save the Quote Tweet for when you really want to show your true colors about something.
Note: You Can't Retweet AND Quote Tweet
You need to make a choice. Do you want to add lines of text above a Retweet to your followers? Or do you want a clean and simple Retweet that gets them the information. Or do you feel strongly about adding your two cents. This is the choice you must make. But don't think too hard about it :)