The term feature is used loosely here.
I was skeptical when Twitter announced a Project Retweet. Why fix what isn’t broken? Sure, I had to copy and paste what I wanted to retweet, but that was just a little annoying, and after downloading the Twitter client now known as Echofon, right clicking and clicking Retweet put the text in the box for me, leaving space (provided that the characters were available) to provide commentary, something I like to do in a tweet.
Then the retweet feature rolled out.
The first thing I noticed was that I wasn’t receiving all my tweets in my Echofon feed. In fact, the only reason I noticed this in the first place was because I checked the trending topics on the website and noticed that someone had retweeted via the retweet button. This tweet did not show up in my Echofon feed. Neither did several other retweets via the retweet button.
Then I noticed the retweets button on the website where I could view all the things my following list had retweeted. After clicking it, I noticed that none of the recent retweets showed up on the feed; in fact, the newest one was several days old. To this day the newest retweet on the “retweeted by others” section of the feed is from November 18th, and many of my followers have retweeted through the website since then.
Yesterday one of my followers retweeted about the Macy’s Thanskgiving Day parade. I tried to reply to her via that tweet and noticed that the reply went to the person who made the original tweet. This makes sense in theory since the person I’m following couldn’t leave any additional commentary, but I wanted to reply to her and not to the original user.
Then there’s the fact that the retweet feature doesn’t let you add any additional commentary or edit the tweet in the first place. Sure, someone retweeting one of my tweets the old way loses eighteen characters to type “RT @sushimustwrite“, but honestly, I don’t care if the tweet is cut short, and they probably won’t ask for my permission anyway.
I still can’t see the website retweets in Echofon, and as far as I know, many clients haven’t adopted this feature yet. (Can someone add to this?) I’m hoping they don’t, for seeing my entire feed (RTs and all) is actually a good thing. Lots of valuable information can be gained from RTs that can’t otherwise be found.
Thumbs down, Twitter. This is a great idea in theory, but the core ideas that make retweeting so powerful aren’t integrated into the feature. I don’t plan on using it.