I’ve been an avid Twitter user for more than a year and a half now and love it for various reasons. One of the coolest things or phenomenon that Twitter has ever seen is “Re-Tweeting”. What this essentially means is to re-post someone else’s update with prefixing “RT/Retweet” and the name of the original poster, for example this:
Difference between posting someone’s content from your Twitter stream as it is and re-tweeting that content is akin to the difference between posting someone’s quote and posting someone’s quote with a mention of it’s author. People re-tweet to share nice updates/links with their followers. Someone whom you follow posted something nice/useful, you like it and you think your followers will also like it, so you re-tweet it. The content of a re-tweet could pretty much be anything. From a piece of news, a url, a quote, a question to a call for help or anything else.
The core idea behind a “re-tweet” is to share something that someone else posted, with your followers, i.e to add value. There’s a bit more to it then just that, it’s the underlying assumption that people(or a majority of them) would not be getting the original content in their Twitter stream in the first place. However this isn’t always the case and thus starts the trouble. The trouble of getting the same content again and again. If there’s a huge intersection in the list of people we follow, chances are each re-tweet we do would be a repeat-tweet, which would be plain redundant. More and more instances of such repeat-tweets lead to
Echo Chamber: An echo chamber essentially means that you get to hear the echoes of voices(read content) again and again. If I keep getting more and more re-tweets/copies of something that I got directly from the source, it will spoil my experience. This problem gets really annoying for closely integrated circles. Imagine Robert Scoble tweets something say “You are defined by the people you follow” and slowly people who are following him start re-tweeting this. Even if a mere 0.1 % of his followers(which would be 76) re-tweet this and say Robert himself is following half of them(which would be 38 and is a fair possibility), he will have his time line flooded with 38 instances of something he just said. Now that’s something serious, isn’t it ?
Now consider say Chris Brogan, too likes what Robert just said and re-tweets it, andddd. The same thing happens
(a) Chris’s twitter stream will have multiple copies of what he just said(plus the original copy by Robert)
(b) Some of Robert and Chris’s common followers who missed that tweet in the first round, might pick and re-tweet it. God bless Robert’s twitter stream.
This is just the first order or re-tweet, one can imagine will the inter connectedness what a second order re-tweet wave like this can do
Data duplication is a serious problem for some people and networks. The intensity of the problem is reflected in the way Friendfeed introduced hiding/grouping duplicate content.
Duplicate shares were always the most annoying aspect of FriendFeed. Whenever a story breaks, a large number of your friends are likely to share it through various services, which creates a lot of noise in your main feed. Now, FriendFeed will group these entries together. Your main feed will only show the first share, and then give you the option to click through to see who else shared the same item as well. Hopefully, this will also mean that discussions will now become less fragmented, as users will most likely gravitate towards those items that were shared first.
While friendfeed could come up with a fix to make things better by cutting down noise clearly anything of that sort is not going to happen with Twitter. Leave alone it happening I doubt if many Twitter users realize this as a problem in first place. What do you think ?
Please ReTweet it you like it 🙂
Re-tweeting is very cool when it’s done right, but sometimes I see tweets with broken links get mindlessly re-tweeted. This shows the re-tweeter never even read the content that they are putting their name on as a stamp of approval. It’s less obvious when the link works, but the implication is that many re-tweets are reflex actions.
There’s a strong belief among many that Twitter is a quantifiable medium, that the more followers, tweets, and retweets you have, the better you are using the medium. That seems predicated on a belief that all content is equal. It’s not. Don’t re-tweet unless you really think there’s value in doing so.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting Brook.
It’s a bit surprising that tweets with broken links get retweeted, personally I haven’t yet seen one.
Re-Tweet as a reflex action is an interesting phenomenon, other than putting a stamp of approval it has also gotten to do with showing association/relation with something cool, smart, witty, intellectual etc . For ex: Though I might not understand art but if somebody tweets something related to art with looks elitish, I might retweet it without thinking twice.
There’s another reason that leads to mindless retweeting i.e giving ego massage. Some people retweet other people’s tweets mindlessly just to impress or maybe expect a retweet or two in return.
Why people retweet ? http://mayank.name/2009/03/30/re-tweeting-and-echo-chamber/#comments
This comment was originally posted on Twitter