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Twitter's new retweets stumble, but they're still coming (and it's good)

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    Twitter's new retweets stumble, but they're still coming (and it's good)

    There's been a flurry of news and views surrounding Twitter's retweet feature as it rolls out to more users this week. To sum up, limited introduction of the new feature was announced, then it was halted to fix some bugs, and now it's back on again. No big deal, but the user reaction to the new retweets has been so enormous and so polarized that Twitter founder Ev Williams saw fit to write a rare blog post on the subject.

    The feature received heavy criticism from some users (including confused celebrities) who didn't understand that retweets will start appearing in your stream with the icon of the original poster. The words of someone you don't follow have always been able to end up in your stream as retweets, but now you'll see an icon, too. Don't freak out. If you see someone you don't like, you can go to that user's settings and block retweets from him or her. That's right: you have control over your retweet settings for individual users.

    Ev's response in support of retweets includes two very strong points. Number one: formalizing retweets and showing the original poster's icon clears up any confusion about who wrote what you're reading. It also means you only see the message once, even if 17 of your friends retweet it, which makes for a tidier Twitter stream. Number two: the new system makes retweets trackable. You'll be able to click on tabs to see retweets by others, retweets by you and your tweets, retweeted. This wouldn't have been possible without formally coding the retweet process into Twitter.

    This isn't a web-only feature: app developers already either support it or are working to make sure they support it soon. Some of them even have more elegant presentations of retweets than the web interface. In the meantime, chill out when you see a strange face in your stream. This is the new way of things on Twitter, and it's actually pretty cool.Twitter's new retweets stumble, but they're still coming (and it's good) originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 12 Nov 2009 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

    Twitter - Evan Williams - Download Squad - Online Communities - Social Networking
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