• Who am I?

    I am Qrystal; or at least, that's my dot-name! Har har. (My name is really Crystal, but that's not as internet-searchable; hence, switching the C for the little-used letter Q.)

    I am here because I enjoy writing. I do this mostly for myself, but I also have a passion for helping others learn things from the things I write. Now that I am done my Ph.D. in Physics, I am stepping away from academic research so that I can indulge in some creative ways to share my knowledge and inspire the appreciation of scientific thinking in others. I am also working as a tutor, which is one of the jobs I've most enjoyed doing in my life so far.


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  • Twitter’s New Retweets: a proposal for change

    Posted by Qrystal on November 19, 2009 at 21:36.
    Category: Miscellany. Tags: .

    Here is the feedback I just sent to twitter about their new retweet feature:

    The new retweet feature has a lot of potential, but it’s being overshadowed by the fact that it isn’t the same as the organic retweeting that emerged from how we use twitter.  It seems the main problem is that people expect retweets to be more like forwarding, that is, with commentary.  What I’ve noticed is that the new RT seems to be more like what favouriting could be, if that was to be enhanced drastically.

    Perhaps you should consider moving some of this exciting new functionality to be a part of fav’ing instead, turning *that* into another way of sharing tweets with others.  Make it possible for us to opt in to seeing other people’s favourites (perhaps on a sliding scale: none, a few, some, most, or all), and then *those* tweets could appear in our tweetstream with the original author’s avatar and name.  After all, this way is more like passing on of the original message—and, I wouldn’t have to see the original more than once, if this were to make use of that intriguing aspect you’ve incorporated into new retweets.

    Then, you could change RT to be a little bit more like the way a reply is, especially the part where it links to the original post.  You could pre-populate the status field with

    RT @whoever: “(insert entirety of the tweet content here)”

    and use something like the “in_reply_to_status_id” part of the reply-to link to make a connection back to the original tweet.  This would overcome the false attribution issue with oldschool RT: if someone *really* retweets someone, it will be proven with an actual link.

    Best of all, this proposed change would allow people the freedom to comment on tweets in a way that is different from replying.  It would also be different from “wishing others could see the original tweet” (which is what new retweet seems to want to do, but my proposed change to faves would do instead).  The downside of commenting, currently, is that tweets often have to be edited in order to fit.  However, if there was a link retained between the retweet (aka the forwarded quote) and the original, people wouldn’t feel like they need to try and retain most of the context, because the context would exist as a link to the original.  So, the character limit wouldn’t be as strained, because we could quote just the part we want to emphasize, like so:

    RT @ev: “We may add commentary.”  Yes! Please do! For some of us, it’s the main reason we retweet!

    [in_reply_to_status_id=5845730902&in_reply_to=ev]

    Note that I cut out the part of ev’s tweet that didn’t apply to what I wanted to comment on, but I still am passing on the part of the quote from ev that I want to share with my followers, as well as adding my own comment to it.

    This change I’m proposing would still allow for tracking the retweets made of the original, as seen on the “Retweets by others” page (which would pretty much be unchanged from what it is now).  However, on hovering over the images of the people who retweeted, one could easily review how each person had edited it, and whether there were additional comments added!  I’m also proposing that there be a way to review who has faved the things I’ve said, or what other tweets my followees have faved recently, so there could be a set of pages much like the new Retweets pages, but for Faves as well!

    So, in summary, I think there are a lot of great ideas incorporated into this new feature, but that they aren’t all appropriate for the way that many of us use the retweeting ability.  An extension of favouriting would be able to make use of some of these great ideas, while freeing up retweets to be more attuned to the organic way that they originally emerged.

    If you like my idea, please feel free to give feedback to twitter (using the link they give near where they say, “What do you think of the retweet feature?”) and refer to this link to my zendesk post: http://help.twitter.com/requests/710688. Thanks for the support, and for not just merely complaining like most other people are doing!

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