Twitter Going the Way of Old Media?

A.k.a. “Why I don’t like Twitter’s new retweet function”.

As far as I can tell from the beta testing of Twitter’s new Retweet function, someone inside of Twitter seems to want to make sure that original tweets are given more credit than they maybe currently get, and that no one dare change any of them. That seems very RIAA to me, but then again maybe that’s just me. Unfortunately, it’s also why I won’t be going to to retweet anytime soon, but will continue to do it from Tweetdeck. Here’s why.

The person I follow who retweeted a link or other information is more important to me than the person I don’t follow who tweeted it originally. As I skim through the latest “x” tweets in my friend’s timeline, unfamiliar avatars tend to get skipped over much faster that then handful of folks I know, respect, and trust to be providing the best information. Retweets of links by these folks get my attention quickly, and tend to get me to click the link in question, again because I know it must be good if it came from that person. I can’t skim the front page of Twitter and know who retweeted a link, I only see the avatar of someone I don’t necessarily know from Adam. Yes, it’s nice that Twitter wants to make sure they get more credit than they currently do, but they are not a trusted source of information to me, yet. In the 10 minutes I’m skimming Twitter, I need to see my trusted sources in order to truly get that information, not a bunch of people I don’t know at all with small print telling me who I follow that actually retweeted this.

Secondly, this inability to add anything to the Retweet is also quite limiting. Again, it takes away the ability to do any sort of remixing, if you will, to better fit my audience. I ask you, which is more useful, and which is more likely to get you to follow a link? A simple retweet of exactly what someone else posted, or me adding a “this made me LOL” to the tweet? That extra comment allows me to not only point you to a good tweet, but also explain (if I can in 140 characters) why I think you should read it. It provides context, allows me to explain why I retweet something, or even respond to a tweet and include the context of my response. In copyright terms, Twitter made it harder to create a derivative work. I don’t see how that is user friendly.

So, back to doing my retweets in Tweetdeck, where I still have some freedom. At least until Twitter makes their feature more useful than it is in this initial roll out.

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One Comment

  1. Totally agree Mike! After all if its a link the original author will get credit. The point about adding your own comment to the RT is key though as this is the most powerful point in the RT IMHO.

    Although won't be continuing in Tweetdeck, I prefer Seesmic Desktop myself!

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