Today when I was going through my tweets, I came across a very interesting article titled “Retweet is stupid” – Think again fellow social media citizens by Joel Mackey. Ironically, it was retweeted by Ariela Ross, someone I look up to.
…a retweet is the same as voting up something on Digg or Reddit. It’s a piece of metadata about the tweet, and should be stored and displayed with the tweet. When you retweet something, none of the 140 characters should be used in saying that it’s a retweet and who it came from.
The comments on the entry, however, took a different meaning of his post altogether:
FROM MIXX ID: justiuli
Retweeting is pointless. It’s completely ridiculous. You only have to fill up 140 characters, and you don’t have the creativity to even come up with that. So, you fire up TweetDeck and hit the retweet button all day long. Uncreative and utterly pointless for anyone who’s not a pointless social media retard.
If I see a Twitter profile and it’s got nothing but retweets, I hit the magic “block” button. These people are pointless leeches, and usually have nothing of any interest to say: it’s all “OMG social media is so transgressive! I love Web 2.0 so much!” etc. Pointless crap.
FROM MIXX ID: cmcgill (Mixx Founder)
hate the retweet- but I suppose it is a way to “pass it on”
Joel’s reply to these comments was:
From MIXX ID: webaddict
I’m disappointed in the views of my fellow Mixxers in their feeling that the “Retweet” is stupid. What it tells me is that most don’t understand it’s implication or point. While it certainly is the same as a Mixx Upvote, a Digg or a Stumble it’s so much more. The reason I think most of you think it’s stupid or pointless is because you are categorizing and compartmentalizing it in the same category as the voting system.
While a retweet is a vote, it’s also the syndication of information within seconds. If someone has a lot of followers on Twitter, they are respected to have a keen eye for good content, breaking information or a tight niche categorical focus on content. Instead of simply just voting, that content is then displayed to hundreds or thousands of eyes, minds and feeds within seconds.
So if you want my true opinion, I think a vote is more pointless or stupid than a retweet. It’s effect is much less substantial. It’s power limited. It’s butterfly effect small. Wake up and smell the revolution…
Personally, I see merits to both sides of the argument. While a retweet should not take up any more characters in indicating that its infact a retweet, its essence will be lost if it looks like just another tweet with a link to it.
Here is what I propose – I believe retweets can be made so much simpler if they carried meta-data on who originally tweeted it and how many times before has it been retweeted. How can this be implemented? Instead of clicking the arrow for ‘reply’, we can click on a new symbol for RT. This can contain the above meta-data.
This is what I mean:
Is there a better way? What do you think?
Image Credits: GapingVoid