My quick thoughts on "Why Retweet works the way it does" by @ev and how he has bad twitter grammar


Worse, RTs can actually be easily faked, which has become a form of spam, wherein well-known people are shown to be promoting something they never twittered about.

I like the thinking behind the new retweet feature, and Ev acknowledges that my much-valued ability to add snark to retweets is something they're considering for future release.

I just wanna point out two remaining problems I have with this post.

1) Ev talks about the redundancy problem of the current retweet method wherein you see the same tweet retweeted by multiple people you follow. The new Twitter solution is that you will only see a retweeted tweet once, regardless of how many times the people you follow subsequently retweet.

This has a potentially significant downside. I see twitter as a stream, and if I'm not looking, the tweets I miss effectively don't happen. Also, part of the way I know something is truly interesting is to see it show up in my stream multiple times. This works in an ego-stroking way (e.g. if I keep seeing one of my tweets retweeted, I know I've struck a nerve) but it also just raises the visibility of the original tweet because in a stream environment, redundancy is not a big problem. Sure the original tweet may have been retweeted 10 times by people I follow, but I probably only see it two or three times.

By "solving" what Twitter sees as the redundancy problem, they've also removed weight from a retweeted tweet. How will I know if something has been retweeted 20 times or just once. Ideally, there'd be a way for me to see the following

  1. The original tweet
  2. The number of times it has been retweeted by people I follow
  3. The number of times it has been retweeted by anyone on Twitter
I imagine a "retweeted" column in Seesmic/Tweetdeck/Brizzly that shows a ranked list of tweets based on #1 and #2 above while showing me #3 for each of those tweets. Something like that would go a long way toward achieving Twitter's stated mission of

helping you discover the information that matters most to you as quickly as possible

In theory, a tweet that has been retweeted 30 times by people I follow is much more relevant that the tweets that happen to be most recent in my stream.

2) more important than all that though, Ev has bad Twitter grammar. in the sentence I quote at the top of this post, Ev says, "never twittered about."

For shame, Twitter co-founder. The correct form is "never tweeted about." The verb is tweet, my man. The verb is tweet.

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