Lately, apart from Twitter releasing an official Twitter 101, and Revamping the Twitter Start-page, and including a Real-Time search widget there seems to be little word from the small company that made the microblogging concept popular. Now, the concept of the Retweet has been fairly popular since a while, with several marketers on the internet terming it “viral gold”. Basically, if you get a Retweet by a person with enough followers, you’ve made your point. Now, the Twitter website doesn’t currently support a Retweet (RT) option. As of now, you have to copy the person’s tweet, append an RT @”person who tweeted”. The trouble with that is that often, the 140 character tweet has to be shortened. Plus, if there’s a RT chain… you are Retweeting a Retweet, adding all the intermediaries is a major headache. The Retweet is so popular, that though the Twitter site does not support it, most other third-party clients do. Be it the popular TwitterFox or Tweetdeck, or any other client on mobile, browser or desktop. Even in a recent study, less than 50% actually use the website.
So now, Twitter has gone ahead spreading the buzz about a Project Retweet, allowing for RT support on the website. Now, the project is not completed yet, but the concept is. The following picture indicates the idea.
So by the Retweet option, you can see the Retweet of a person, even if you don’t follow the original person, and it solves the long list of the RT options. Twitter also plans to include an “Ignore RT” option so you can choose not to see Retweets.
The announcement was made in the Google Group for Twitter Developers and the plan’s set to roll out in a few weeks. Initially, a few people will be invited to try it out, before making it open for all. As of now, it’s not easy to keep track of the number of times you’ve been Retweeted or the number of people who have.
There will be four different Retweet scenarios.
- Retweets in the new home timeline: Now, all the tweets come in the same timeline, with a list of all the users who have Retweeted it. Compare that to the messy RT:user RT:user… Way less cluttered.
- Retweeted by me timeline: Twitter and third-party developers will start to create ways for us to get a filtered view of our own retweets — currently set to return the 20 most recent retweets. So now, you can analyse all the things that you retweeted.
- Retweeted to me timeline: This way, all the Retweets will be made available on a separate timeline. Obviously, if someone Retweets something, they find it interesting. So you can keep track of all the RTs sent TO you.
- My tweets, retweeted: And finally, it’s all about you. A separate timeline allowing you to see the most recent tweets by you which got Retweeted. Obviously included will be a list of the people who retweeted you.
The benefits of including the RT option in the website are enormous. You can now analyse in a better fashion what is popular and what is not. If you want to know how popular something is, you can retweet it and possibly identify how many others did the same. Of course, I am assuming the list of the “others” is restricted to people you know.
The drawbacks? Initially, I assumed it was an awesome option, until I read Mashable’s analysis of the same thing. A very valid point emerged. What about the comments? Most of us, while Retweeting, like to add our little something to the tweet. The RT is merely a formal acknowledgement that it’s not your own. So what happens to that two-penny “gyaan” that we add? Will there be an option for Comments included as well? I hope so. Of course, plans have just emerged for Twitter and the way it plans to include the Retweet option. Obviously, all other applications will have to include the separate timelines.
Let’s analyse this. A lot of people use third-party clients because it’s easier to Reply, Retweet, Search, and often keep tabs. What I wonder is if Twitter will soon add all these features to its website. Also, as of now, there seems to be very little animosity from Twitter towards its applications as they are drawing away users from using twitter.com as a platform. Does that mean Twitter really doesn’t care how they access it? Does that also mean that Twitter has no plans for display/text advertising on it’s platforms? Or is the inclusion of the Retweet an attempt to bring people back to the site? Speculations aside, one thing is for certain. RT is now officially a part of Twitter. And it’s sure to change the burgeoning Twitter Ecosystem in a HUGE way.