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Twitter’s new retweet feature is dumb and (mostly) useless

I finally got the new retweet feature turned on on my Twitter account today, and unlike Twitter lists, I find this to be a horribly designed addition. For example, take a look at this:

Screen shot 2009-11-17 at 2.39.45 PM

How does this help me? Why is there no information telling me which one of the people I follow retweeted this guythe information about who retweeted it so small and easy to miss? [See UPDATE section below] If this were a tweet that I found valuable, I could count that value towards that person I follow for having the insight to retweet it. If this tweet were a tweet that I found useless, vulgar, offensive, or horrible, I could also count that against the person I follow who retweeted it, and possibly unfollow someone I really shouldn’t be following. Also, there’s no commentary from my friend telling me why he/she thought the tweet was worth retweeting.

As is, all the social goodness of the community-created retweet has been stripped bare from this item thanks to Twitter’s horrible attempt at institutionalizing it. I have no idea who shared it with me. I’m just left seeing someone who I don’t know in my timeline, which increases the chances that I’ll totally skim over it and not pay it the attention that I might have paid it had it been the avatar of a friend with a note and a RT.

If Twitter thinks this is the makings of a good social network, Twitter is doomed to be replaced in the longrun.

Stop dictating why retweet works the way it does and try building something useful for your userbase that enhances what they were already doing with a simple two characters.

UPDATE: As soon as I posted this, I saw this other retweet and noticed that Twitter’s “helpful” pop up telling me what a retweet was actually blocked the actual info about who retweeted it (which is there; it’s just very small and hidden). Here it is:

Screen shot 2009-11-17 at 8.56.52 PM

So now at least I know that I should unfollow CtrlFollow for retweeting Paris Hilton, so that’s something, but everything else I noted above holds true. Even by design, that little note about who retweeted it is so small that if you’re quickly skimming through your tweets, you’ll still miss it / you might brush past a good share by a trusted source.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Navarr 11/17/2009, 9:57 pm

    I don’t know about you, but mine shows the people that retweeted posts.

    Either way, I think they talked briefly about adding your own comments to retweets, and they stated somewhere along the lines that they hadn’t found a proper way to implement it, or whatever.

    Either way, I like this new feature. It makes it much easier to discover users whose interests are similar to my own.

    • C.K. Sample III 11/17/2009, 10:05 pm

      Yeah I see that now. I don’t think it did when I took the original screenshot. However, it’s still small and makes it easy to overlook when skimming through tweets.

  • Damien Franco 11/18/2009, 1:23 am

    I think there is value for people that use Twitter.com but don’t most of us use twitter clients that have better ways to do RTs? I don’t think you can even edit your ReTweet from the Twitter website. I can do that with Seismic or Tweetdeck.

    So I guess it’s mostly a non-issue for me.

    • C.K. Sample III 11/19/2009, 1:58 pm

      Actually more people use the site than any clients. TweetDeck is the next closest competitor to the site itself.

  • mike2k 11/19/2009, 1:40 pm

    This stupid butchering of the retweet feature was implemented only so retweets can be tracked. Now everyone gets to look at how many times they were retweeted and brag about it.