Community Intervention: Twitter.com finally gets the RT

by David on November 6, 2009

One of the great things about Twitter is that the community doesn’t wait for Twitter Inc. to get it. The community creates the conventions it needs. For instance, the RT has been around for it seems all time in the Twittersphere. I recently criticized Twitter Inc. for not updating its site in ages and soon after we got Lists and now the Retweet (coming soon as reported by Mashable).

statustalker

No, I’m not taking credit for it for Twitter adding the Retweet. However, I might take credit for Facebook adding replies to comments. That is accepted as commonplace now and it seems to have increased interaction on Facebook. Duh! A couple of years ago, Craig Ogg, Keith Bussell and I create statustalker. It was an app to, well, enable Facebook members to comment on their friends statuses. It failed to gain much adoption but it may have sparked Facebook to add the functionality. We were unable to have the comments right below the status itself in the main body of the page but we did have better threading similar to what you see in blog comments and forums. Our app was religated to have comments in the right column and on a separate page. It also allowed for a better way to read your friends’ statuses, kind of like how the feed was before the last upgrade and how most smartphone apps treat the feed. It died a quick death. We were probably one round of beers away from thinking up FriendFeed. Oops.

Community Intervention & then Better Integration

So the Twitter community created the RT. It was used in tweets whether on twitter.com or via and app or other website using the Twitter API. It was sooooo simple. Apps and the other sites made it even easier by having a Retweet button that add the RT and user being retweeted.

Just as Facebook had more control over presentation than we did for statustalker, Twitter has better integration for retweet. Marketing Shindig has some great screenshots of the new retweet functionality. It includes showing your friends who have retweeted a tweet, an icon to show that it’s a retweet and, yes the much-needed Retweet link!

While I think that this is a great feature, I don’t think that it will increase the number of retweets the way status comments helped increase the volume of status updates on Facebook. What remains to be seen is if Twitter can start to get more users to twitter.com and away from apps and other sites.

There isn’t an app for that!

As you can see, it’s amazing what a company can do with $130 million in the bank. Do you think @ev, @biz and team can give us official Twitter apps for Android, Blackberry and the iPhone?

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