Twitter’s (Beta) ReTweet Feature Review
For those of you who haven’t been invited to beta-test Twitter’s
redundant waste of time new ReTweet feature, I’ve got the full skinny here: you’re not missing much, and nothing innovative is brought to the table here at all.
Twitter’s Retweet (beta) feature: note the “ReTweet” link next to the reply link.
The “New Feature”
So, what happens if the little link in the above screenshot snippet is clicked? Well, if you are “lucky” enough to be testing this feature, you will see the following within your timeline:
(note the image instead of the letters “RT”. That’s the innovation here, apparently.)
Everyone else sees the usual “RT @[user]: [Tweet]” format, without the fancy shmancy image to go in place of the “RT” part.
One more official part of the new feature, however, is the “ReTweet management screen”:
See who re-stated what
Here, you can see who has ReTweeted what, who has retweeted you, and so on. This tool only supports the usage of the “official” RT link; old-style manual “RT”s are not tracked here in bit.ly-like fashion.
I’m being a dick about this new feature, I realize this, and here’s why:
Bet your Twitter web client doesn’t do THIS, huh? More screenshots: The Coffee Desk Twitpic
Twitter user @troynt pretty much ruined Twitter for me: his Firefox Greasemonkey script added “group” support before the Lists feature was added for all to use, it hides the stupid Twi-ter pronunciation ad box thing, it nests timeline replies (seen in the screenshot), it allows you to add “notes” about a user to this profile page, it allows you to automatically see new Tweets upon reaching the bottom of the timeline screen in the web client, it can embed images (e.g. Twitpic) and YouTube videos directly into the timeline under the corresponding tweet, it has auto-complete for @ notation, and it allows you to turn off pretty much any aspect of the site via a nice checkbox-system within it’s in-Twitter management console.
The biggest thing Twitter should adopt here, while remaining optional and customizable of course, are the nested replies, image/video embedding, and auto-completion. Until then, this script makes Twitter’s web client 100% more usable for me.
One thing the script doesn’t do that I would like to see in Twitter is auto-updating times: Facebook does this in their newsfeed: when a minute has passed, the “posted at …” is updated to reflect how much time has actually passed, not how much time has passed since the status/post was last loaded. Nothing grinds my gears like trying to figure out when a tweet occurred upon returning to my computer after 5 minutes of being away (simple math shouldn’t be necessary with Web 2.0)
So while this article started as a critical review of the new ReTweet feature within Twitter’s web client, it’s quickly turned into praise for the @troynt Greasemonkey script instead, since it pretty much makes Twitter 100% better and adds more features to make it actually worthwhile. Use Firefox, get the Greasemonkey add-on, and get the @troynt Greasemonkey script from userscripts.org – it will change your perspective about Twitter’s web client moreso than their useless ReTweet Feature.
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