Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Proposed Solution to the "Can't Comment On RTs" Problem: Retweet-Replies

I love retweets. More importantly, I love the new, native Retweets. I know there are plenty of people still up in arms about them, or refusing to use them because they don’t like change, or for a whole bunch of reasons that I thought were silly at the time and didn’t remember long enough to refute them.

But that’s not what I’m writing about tonight.

There is one real deficiency with native Retweets. Ev even mentioned it in his blog post, which is excellent, and required reading before I’ll debate why native Retweets are awesome with you.


The other thing some people will not like is that, unlike organic RTs, there’s no way to annotate or leave your own comment when you retweet something with the new system…we have some ideas there, and it’s possible we’ll build that in at a later date. (This point should not be missed.)

This is important, and it’s a big reason some people don’t want to use the native Retweets. Even @jack isn’t using them.

I have a solution. It’s a really simple solution, but unfortunately it requires a little bit of work from Twitter. I’d rather this were a completely user-behavior or client-side solution, but it is what it is.

If I retweet @someone, and then reply to the retweet, push my reply to all of my followers, even if they don’t follow @someone.

If Twitter made this simple change (to replies, you’ll notice, not to retweets), it would mean I could use an entire 140 characters to annotate my retweet, and that annotation doesn’t need Yet Another special case in Twitter clients, or an API change, or something new for users to learn.

It would also mean innovative clients could add a “RT/Reply” button that would mark a tweet for retweeting, get the reply, and then do the retweet and the reply back to back so they show up next to each other.

I call this idea “Retweet-Replies”, since, you know…that’s what they are.

What do you think?

CC: #twitterapi


Follow me on Twitter. I don't have comments enabled, because I remember when we didn't have blog comments, and we did just fine, thank you very much.