The auto-retweet button on Twitter could be killing the very thing that Twitter is known for — commentary and an open interchange of ideas.
Back in the day, we used to have to use our copying ability to retweet. See an interesting post, copy it, give credit and retweet. Often there was some semi-tedious micro-editing. (Squeeze the tweet into 140 characters without changing the original tweet TOO MUCH and give credit where it was due.) But often you had room to post little commentary of your own, even if it was just an LOL.
Human nature being what it is, today’s retweet is more frequently being made by using the automatic retweet. Let’s face it — it’s easy and most of us are inherently lazy. Call it the “guess what I think of this one” retweet. It is delivered free of any commentary or context. Love the post or hate it, if I use the official Twitter retweet button, it looks the same. So don’t assume that a retweet means the retweeter loves the post, or even agrees with the post — they may just be pointing out a really dumb comment. Or one that they vehemently disagree with.
2 thoughts on “Is the Retweet Button Killing Twitter?”
Thanks for the timely topic! Just this morning, I was retweeting something I liked and I clicked that “retweet button for Dummies” and was, as usual, disappointed to find it broadcast with no chance for me to add my two cents. But today, I was bold and stepped backwards in time – to delete my retweet, then chose to copy and paste with my own short comment. Not all progress is in a linear direction.
I think the retweet button was created to effectively tie into the new corporate thing they’re going for. Once companies start paying for Twitter they’ll be getting analytics, and how else will twitter be able to track those metrics unless they have the function built into the system?
I agree with what you say (though I tend to use the automatic retweet when I have no commentary or if the person doesn’t leave room for commentary) but I’m guessing this is why they did it.
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