R.I.P. RT? Twitter toys with killing retweets in favour of 'Shares'

Retweeting is an integral part of the Twitter experience, and the ability to instantly repeat something that another user has said to all of your followers is a feature that tweeters across the globe take advantage of every day. But just days after Twitter announced a range of multimedia-focused changes - including the ability to upload multiple images in a single tweet, and to tag other users in an image - it looks like the company may be toying with further changes, this time related to retweets. 

Before you panic, take a deep breath and be reassured by the news that the ability to retweet doesn't seem to be in any danger of going away. But it looks like Twitter may be considering a name change for this feature, as Engadget reports that a small number of users have been seeing things differently in recent days. Rather than being shown a retweet button in Twitter's iOS and Android apps, some users are instead being given the option to 'share' tweets with their followers. 

For those seeing the change, it appears to be entirely cosmetic - a simple name change, from 'retweeting' to 'sharing', with no real difference in terms of functionality. But even this small change has annoyed many; Eli Langer, social media reporter with CNBC, collected a selection of tweets from some of those users whose RT buttons have been replaced by 'Share', and the tone of their feedback is fairly negative. 

Twitter's experimentation may be aimed at making its user experience more easy to understand for newer and less tech-savvy users. The jargon - retweets, mentions, hashtags etc - of Twitter are an integral part of the whole experience, but for some, it can all sound a bit too technical and intimidating.

Removing these kinds of barriers for potential users is an important step for Twitter as it seeks to grow its user numbers further. But Twitter also runs the risk of angering its existing user base if it dares to change things too much for those who already enjoy its services. 

For now, there are no indications that Twitter plans to implement this change on a wider basis. Given the way that many of its users have responded so far, that's perhaps for the best. 

Source: Engadget

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36 Comments

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I might be the only one but I hate RT. People flood my feed with useless crap. I used a third party app for iOS just because it can block RT within your lists.

To be honest I never got the "re" in the phrase retweeting it implies your redoing something already done confusing to newbies when in fact all your doing is copying something and transmitting it to others. So share seems the better word, just anti-Facebook Twitter snobbery.

The prefix "re-" simply means "again", stemming back from Latin. So "re-tweeting" is just tweeting an already made tweet, again.

I dunno, to me it makes sense... I wouldn't consider it "copying" because you're actually tweeting out the original tweet.

neowin pls don't get the hopes of Linux fan boys and Microsoft haters up by saying "R.I.P RT" some may think its about windows RT from the title.

Enron said,
Aren't they combining RT with WP8 soon anyway?

LOL. Did you even read the rest of the article's title, or the article itself?

For the most part I consider Twitter to be a simplification of Facebook, but that might be due to my particular circumstances. However, renaming "retweet" to "share" doesn't help them in setting themselves apart from the crowd.

But at the end of the day, it's a change of a name. The functionality isn't lost, so does it matter that much to people?

Depicus said,

Why would you want to shut down something you don't use ?

Some people just love to complain. I use twitter and it's actually really useful for keeping up to date with things you're interested in. People seem to want everyone to like what they like. If they don't like something, well guess no one can use it now.

while I See no use in it, I would not want it to be closed. Some people are passionate about getting followers who will retweet their... "keep it 100", "you only live once "all Sort of Craps and I don't blame them because 144 characters is not enough to keep you updated with things that interest you. well if Say So, who am I to Say it is not So. but if you really want to be updated, you should use better social network like facebook

Yeah, I had the same opinion about it, until I REALLY learn how it works. Actually you're the one who makes it useful or useless. It's all about who you follow. It's great to stay up to date with news about whatever you like. Now, if you just follow random people you will probably have nothing good to see. IMO Twitter is way better and more useful than Facebook or Google+.

benjimoola said,
144 characters says its not better. I get same news and better interaction in Facebook... twitter is completely useless to me.

I wonder if you use text messaging ?

I don't use it anymore either... and its different. Facebook have instant messages and can transfer files and video through it. 144 characters is just not enough, that's why you see all sort of abbreviation and people just saying meaningless stuff all the time. and there are more freaks on twitter than Facebook... they even beg you to follow them. twitter sucks like snapchat

benjimoola said,
I don't use it anymore either... and its different. Facebook have instant messages and can transfer files and video through it. 144 characters is just not enough, that's why you see all sort of abbreviation and people just saying meaningless stuff all the time. and there are more freaks on twitter than Facebook... they even beg you to follow them. twitter sucks like snapchat

I wasn't going to be so pedantic, but you keep saying it! It's 140 characters :) not 144...

I use Twitter a lot, one of my favourite apps. I use it for current news, celebrities I'm interested in, humour, connecting with friends, finding out and keeping up to date with local events etc. it's brilliant. Then again, I don't use Facebook...

Twitter is pretty much killing off what made it popular in the first place and trying to be Facebook, which is not a good thing. Twitter should just stick to the naming it has now, and innovate in other ways.

j2006 said,
Twitter is pretty much killing off what made it popular in the first place and trying to be Facebook, which is not a good thing. Twitter should just stick to the naming it has now, and innovate in other ways.

Hear, hear.