What is retweeting?
But first, let me explain what "retweeting" is for those not familiar with Twitter:
Retweeting is forwarding/spreading a Twitter message (or "tweet") posted by someone to your other Twitter followers.
Quite often Twitter developers will take note of a convention that spreads throughout Twitter users and turn it into an official feature. The original way to spread a message sent out via Twitter (a ''retweet") is to put the abbreviation "RT" plus the person's ID with the "@" symbol in front so the person originating the tweet gets credit for the tweet and sees it automatically in their stream of replies. For example, Simon Fodden retweeting from the Slaw.ca Twitter account:
The new retweet feature
We can still manually retweet as we have been doing, but now Twitter has added an automated feature they are calling "Retweet". It does a few different things than we are used to. It can be confusing at first. Hopefully this helps explain it:
- The retweet feature replicates the entire original tweet, including the person's name, icon and source they sent the tweet from (e.g. Tweetdeck, web). So, if you retweet something a friend tweeted, everyone following your twitter stream will see your friend's icon instead of yours. This is the most confusing part of the new feature. For example, in the example below, my friend @pfanderson retweeted something from @sneakymonkey, and it is @sneakymonkey's icon that shows up. They also add "retweeted by" in the status line under the tweet:
- currently we can't edit or add any information to the retweet. Previously we could edit the tweet down or add a comment as there was space with the 140 character limit.
- there are some new lists of the retweets, from your right side menu ("retweets") - http://twitter.com/#retweets. Under "Your tweets, retweeted" they show who has retweeted (see the icons under each retweet):
- I don't see an RSS feed listed for the retweets yet.
Incidentally, Twitter is opening up a lot of new features and functionality these days. Lists are one I have also been playing with. They have also integrated Twitter with LinkedIn so we can push tweets to LinkedIn status messages, and I see there is now Twitter in Spanish and some new functionality (from what I can understand) with Twitter in French. It is worth following the Twitter blog to learn about all the new features coming down the pipe.
Do you have pointers or questions about the new retweeting feature?