Update: New Post, 19 November – Caution Still Advised
For those of you who are in the Twitter “retweet” beta test, I have a word of advice: proceed cautiously.
Here’s why. Currently, retweets that are executed via the Twitter web “retweet link” are visible to your followers who are using the web interface to read your tweets but are not visible to popular third party clients.
Let me say that a different way: popular third party applications are currently not displaying RTs executed via the Twitter web interface “retweet” link. In other words, these retweets are MIA in a follower’s timeline in popular third-party clients. The exception: Tweetie2.
This may be a “cart before the horse” problem. In other words, third party applications may not have had a chance to integrate the new API. Or it may be that Twitter privileged Tweetie2 developers. I don’t know.
But if most of your followers read your tweets using third party desktop clients, this “bug” could have a serious impact on your personal retweet rate in the short-term. Experiment wisely. And mindfully.
The Story In Pictures
People who are part of the beta test will see a familiar-looking “alert” on their Twitter home page:
Sending A Retweet With The New Feature
Twitter has made it very easy to send a retweet via the web interface. This may be an attempt to make the web interface a more pleasant experience for people who follow a lot of accounts. Certainly, the ability to easily retweet has been a mainstay of third-party Twitter clients.
(1) Read your tweets via the web interface. When you find a tweet that seems interesting enough to share with your followers, mouse-over. You’ll see the “retweet” link to the right of the familiar “reply” link.
(2) After you retweet, this is what the tweet looks like from your home page: it bears the avatar of the original account (instead of your avatar) and includes information about who retweeted it as a tagline. Thus, this new feature might make it easier to discover interesting people to follow.
(3) On your profile page, the visual difference starts with an icon instead of initials (RT). Again, the Twitter ID that shows is the original author, not the person who retweeted. Note that there is an “undo” option. I haven’t tested it to see how long this “delete” feature takes.
(4) In addition, Twitter tells you how many other people have retweeted a specific tweet. That’s an incentive, of sorts, to use the new feature.
Receiving A Retweet With The New Feature
If you are in the beta test, when you receive a retweet from someone else in the beta-test, you’ll see an alert when you are reading your tweets from the web. But if you aren’t reading them from the web, you won’t see those retweets in Seesmic, Tweetdeck or TwitBirdPro.
(1) If you are in the beta test, Twitter gives you a heads-up to explain why you are seeing a new avatar in your timeline. This is a smart move for the part of the Twitter community that follows a small-ish number of accounts; for them, the new avatar might be visually jarring.
(2) If you are not in the beta test, your retweets look exactly like they always have, in the web interface. (This is how my “new retweet” tweet looks in my kegill_uw account. Yes, I follow myself there.)
(3) However, the problem comes for your followers who do not use the web to read your Tweets. The Twitter-powered retweet simply falls into a black hole.
First, see the Barbara Clements retweet in context (the tweets before and after it, web interface). Then look at Seemsic, from the desktop, and Tweetdeck and TwitBirdPro, from the iPhone. Notice that the Barbara Clements retweet is MIA in all three instances.
(4) One exception appears to be Tweetie2. My @romensko retweet from the new interface does show up in my kegill_uw account in Tweetie2, just like it did on the web interface.
So there you have it.
Be judicious in your use of the new retweet link if you think most of your followers read your tweets from a third party client, unless that client is Tweetie2. I’ll update this post as I test more clients.
Update: 10.30 pm Saturday
Here is the “base” tweet we’re looking for:
And how that retweet “looks” at the kegill_uw account, in context:
(1) No Go: Twitscoop:
(2) No Go: Twitterrific:
(3) No Go: TwitBirdPro
There was an update for this application at the iTunes store, but it didn’t enable this functionality.