Native Twitter retweeting debate kicked off by @benparr @mashable - it's the conversation, stupid...

There is an interesting dialogue unfolding after a post by Ben Parr at Mashable (link below) about the upcoming launch of native retweeting capabilities within Twitter. The core of the discussion is whether retweeting within Twitter should be simply a "pass along" where you just convey a Tweet exactly as is to your follower base without any changes or linked comments.

There are two sides of the debate, though the number of comments on one side seems to greatly outweigh the other:

  • One group thinks the above is fine and that users shouldn't be able to add their own comments or context to a given retweet.

  • The other group believes that the ability to add your own comments to something you are retweeting is critical.

For my part, I fall completely into the second camp. In my own usage, the purpose of a retweet in the vast majority of cases is not to simply be a mouthpiece for someone else. Instead, I always want to add context that provides my own thinking about what is interesting and frames it for the people that I interact with. Without that additional context, retweeters become less a part of the conversation, acting instead as simple relays.

I also believe that without the added comments and context, the velocity and depth of penetration of a retweet will most often be substantially less. It would be great to have a quantitative analysis of this (depth and speed of spread of simple retweets vs. ones with comments), but without the added commentary any given follower base is less likely to see the value in the Tweet that has been retweeted.

If comments aren't a real part of the native retweeting methods that Twitter rolls out, I think that most people will simply continue to use the existing methods to add their own commentary and ignore the native Twitter path.

So I'm in alignment with both Parr and Cashmore on this one. People want to be part of the conversation, not just a relay.

My $0.02.


  • mashable
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A Comment was added by  

Camp 2 here.

5 years ago
A Comment was added by Alex Hawkinson

Yeah. There must be an inherent ability to be a part of the conversation as it spreads, not just a relay point.

5 years ago

GM of Digital Presence at ReachLocal. Main focus helping small businesses embrace the web. Into emerging tech. Love being a dad. Kind of miss playing D&D.


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