If Twitter merely created a native retweet feature that mirrors how we have been using it, wouldn’t the world would go, ‘Bah, what’s new? We’ve been retweeting anyway!’?. And now, the world only seems annoyed. Why? Because, people do not have the freedom to add context! Seriously….you wanted to add context in 140 characters, after exhausting (often) multiple retweeter IDs? Wow!
I love the in-depth and ramblingly-long defense Evan has posted, about this new native retweet feature.
Yes, it has bugs and needs testing. But I admire the way it has been used, not as-is, and with an inherent purpose.
Right now, it is quite difficult to track retweets simply because its nothing but a messy, user-created syntax – not a feature. For it to be a feature, it needs to adhere to some rules. Such rules also need to account for some of the real-world messiness behind retweets – too many retweeter IDs, multiple comments, abbreviated words that sound like a 6 year old’s language and an acute lack of characters to say anything meaningful.
The current native retweet roll-out beautifully addresses all this, plus two more all-important factors – trackability and attribution.
If twitter needs to and wants to be seen as a serious enough platform for businesses to engage with their audiences, it needs to have a way to track retweets as a measure of popularity. The new native retweet system addresses that. Attribution is more obvious and Evan explains it rather well, with a simple illustration.
This feature addition is in no way similar to the UI updates that Facebook makes – that is a walled garden and that interface is everything for Facebook. Not so for twitter, which relies as much on its native UI as it does on countless 3rd party web and desktop apps. Almost all those apps already have a retweet feature, but no one thought of addressing the tracking and attribution problem – they simply went with so-called crowd-wisdom.
Twitter, thankfully, did not. Brilliant move!