Last week, Mashable reported on Twitter’s new Retweet function. Today I was invited into Twitter’s Retweet beta…
So far so good… Like the rest of Twitter’s interface, the options are well laid out and become visible only when required.
What surprised me most (and pretty ingenious of Twitter to introduce this) was how the retweet appears.
If I understand correctly, what this means is that Twitter will allow you to see the original tweet.
No matter how many times it has been retweeted!
As each person retweets, what you see in your stream will NOT be the user you follow, but the actual user who wrote the tweet.
If you look closely, you can see who has retweeted the link (in this case Retweeted by Hillel) so you can source the retweet.
How will this affect Twitter?
Immediately, you probably wont see much difference.
It will take a while for developers to catch up with the Twitter API and integrate this feature.
In the long run? Quite a huge difference me thinks. Let me explain…
Let’s say you follow a user who retweets a lot (I’m sure we’ve all got a few in our Twitter streams).
Their image (or personal brand) appears multiple times in your stream and you become to recognise them from their image before you read their tweet.
You learn to recognise them as a user who shares a lot of valuable information. Why else would you be following them?
With the new Retweet functionality, these user images (or personal brands) could become very weak or diluted over time.
They are still sending you quality tweets of information, but you may not even be aware it is them who is sending it!
At present, people acknowledge the source of their tweet. They use a RT @user or (via @user) in their tweet.
As respectful as this is, it is still their image or personal brand you see in your stream.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Twitter users ignored the retweet function in order to keep their brand awareness alive.
This would be a huge shame. The whole point of this new functionality is ‘transparency’, to help point to the original source of the tweet.
As always, only time will tell…