Ray Beckerman’s long article has good advice about avoiding Twitter’s “Retweet” button that accompanies every tweet, and instead using what he calls the “traditional retweet,” done manually with cut-and-paste. Up until a year ago, when Twitter introduced its own version of retweet, this was the only way to retweet. From the time this came out it’s gotten many strong negative reactions. Beckerman states the case so eloquently that I’m excerpting his words here, starting with words from the conclusion, which are likely missed by a lot of readers (boldface added):

Conclusion – If you want to be invisible, then by all means use the pseudo-retweet. If not, then this is my advice:

  • Don’t use Twitter’s so called retweet function…. ever.
  • Use genuine, traditional retweets only.

Beckerman explains how to do a traditional retweet, and also has a detailed list of 13 reasons why the traditional retweet is superior to the Twitter-version retweet, worth a detailed reading. Along the way, he has interesting commentary about the odd stance of Twitter on retweeting:

Ironically, the most important feature on Twitter is one that Twitter itself did not develop, and has never adopted: the traditional retweet. It was developed by the customers, on their own, and not by the company. And amazingly, to this date Twitter itself has never incorporated it, although doing so would be as easy as pie.

Twitter’s management doesn’t get it. They try to justify their pseudo-retweet on the theory that a retweet is for the purpose of repeating, or rubber stamping, and thus paying homage to, some genius’s isolated statement spoken in a vacuum, to a vacuum, to be broadcast into an abyss. … Twitter’s competitive edge is the traditional retweet. By abandoning that, it is relinquishing its competitive advantage.

My advice to all Twitter users is that you should not use what Twitter calls a “retweet”. It is a counterfeit, and does not have any of the key properties of a retweet. Just skip it. The true, traditional “retweet” is the life blood of Twitter, and what has set it apart from other similar “microblogging” services.

I especially appreciate Beckerman’s stress on the value of Twitter as a conversational medium, with the traditional retweet as an integral part of the process. As he says, the Twitter-version retweet loses this valuable aspect, as tweets are treated as anonymous bits of information, not connected to a known person in the user’s chosen Tweet-stream.

Ray Beckerman is at: @RayBeckerman

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

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