Retweet Feature of Twitter and Future of Twitter Apps

Twitter introduced Retweet feature few days after introducing lists feature. Now many questions arises on our mind. What are the advantages? How will affect the way people use twitter? What are the changes need to be adopted by web applications?

Twitter Retweet Welcome MessageYesterday I came to know about Retweet feature on the web version of Twitter. I use twhirl (a light weight Adobe Air twitter client), so I opened twitter on my browser and did not notice this feature. Today when I saw one message on Facebook from SitePoint, I again checked it back. I welcomed with a banner which notified me that I am a part of beta group to use this feature and explained how to use this in a short illustration.

This feature is different from the regular RT feature we used to use. Before introducing this feature, we used to add “RT personyouretweet: ” before the post we want to RT and post it. Here the person whom you RT will also got this status as a reply. In most of the twitter clients, RTing is much easier, just click on an icon and it will add “RT personyouretweet: ” before the post, then you just send it. When I used to RT from web, then I used to copy the message, put on the text area, add “RT personIretweet: ” before that message and hit send. Now, from the web interface, when you click on the Retweet button on any post, it’ll appear on the home page of the people who follow you as from the person who you retweet.

twitter explains a retweet

You might see tweets from unknowns (the person whom you don’t follow) on your home page. Before it annoy you for the first time, twitter will display a message as in the image displayed before. I like this part of the welcome. These are the posts retweeted by someone you follow. It’ll also show who (you follow) and how many other people (you don’t follow) retweeted this. You will not see RT or @personyouretweeted in the message, hence saving space. Count this an advantage. You will save some characters, so you never has to trim the original message. A small disadvantage is that you can not add your own comment on it (for example, Wow!!! I like it RT @someone…).

twitter retweet settings notice You can also stop receiving these retweets from anyone you follow by using this simple settings. If someone tweets good but retweets bad, then you can disable receiving retweets from that particular user.

twitter retweet settings enabled

twitter retweet settings disabled

At the right hand side of twitter web home page, you can see one link called “Retweets”. On that page you can see what are the Retweets by people you follow (and who else retweeted that), what are the retweets you made, and your tweets retweeted. If you retweeted something by mistake, there is a undo button too.

The power of twitter is it’s API. You can access twitter in thousands of ways. But with these new features most of the twitter clients becomes outdated and need to be add these features soon. These features will create some new awesome applications. Now just wait and see the good time.

Update – 22nd Nov., 2009

RT @username in new Retweet Feature

When twitter does not use graphics to show a retweet on your homepage, it displays retweet in the old way. They also said this when they informed about this beta feature, that the people who don’t have this new feature will see the retweeted tweets in the old way, i.e. prefaced with RT. I guess this feature is out of beta now. If your latest post is a retweet, then you can see it below the text area in the old way. When someone implements this feature in their application, they can use this old concept with the new style to make it much better or simply simple.


I see TweetDeck applied this new retweet feature in it. You can retweet in both ways – old and new. And you can set one way as default in the settings. You can set TweetDeck to ask you which way to use too.

Image credit: Fickr – petesimonTwitter





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