Tag Archives: Social Media

Poll: What Do You Think of Twitter’s New Retweet Feature?

Twitter rolled out their new native retweet feature recently. Few desktop/iPhone clients have added support for it yet via the API, but many users can already use it through the web interface.

What do you think of it? Is it a good idea, or does it need more work?

My opinion is that it will make it a lot easier to retweet things, which may in turn increase the number of times things are retweeted. No more trying to edit the tweet to fit “RT @username” in. All you have to do is push a button and move on. I think it will also clean up our timelines, since you’ll only see a particular retweet once, shown as the original author’s tweet, instead of seeing twelve reposts of the same thing. I think the biggest thing missing is the inability to add commentary, which matters in some situations, but isn’t necessarily something you have to do every day.

What’s your take? Take a minute to answer the poll below and/or leave a comment.

What do you think of the new "offical" retweet feature?

  • It's great! I'm using it right now. (29%, 4 Votes)
  • It's great, but my Twitter client doesn't support it yet... (29%, 4 Votes)
  • The inability to add commentary is a deal-breaker for me. (21%, 3 Votes)
  • I hate change. (14%, 2 Votes)
  • It's horrible! Twitter is ruining Twitter again! (7%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

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Slashtags: Adapting Twitter Culture to the New Retweet

Twitter users have on more than one occasion invented their own new functionality for the microblogging service, and the developers have often taken the conventions and integrated them into Twitter’s core feature set. Originally the @reply concept was just that: a user-developed practice that evolved to fill a need. Twitter later adopted the standard and made it official, with reply tracking and other neat features.

The same thing happened for hashtags. People would append #sometag to their postings to make it easier to find event-specific tweets via searches. Twitter eventually acknowledged the practice and picked it up.

Now the same thing is happening to retweets. A retweet, in case you’ve been living in a cave without WiFi, is a convention that the Twitterfolk came up with in order to share a tweet with their own sets of followers.

RT @atomicpoet: We're living in a bizarre time. Brands are trying to be individuals, and individuals are trying to be brands.

You copy and paste the tweet, then append “RT @username” to attribute it to the original author. It’s fairly simple, and surprisingly effective. A retweet can virally spread pretty fast under the right conditions.

But now everything is about to change. With “Project Retweet,” Twitter’s official built-in retweet function rolled-out to everyone, the retweet is about to get a lot more interesting.

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The New StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is transitioning into a new redesign, and changing some things around. The new design is much lighter, and puts the search field in clearer sight.

New StumbleUpon Design

In the post announcing the change, the fourth iteration of the site, they say that their goals are to make things simpler, searchable, and more social. The search has been improved, and now lets you chose to search within your favorites, everyone’s, or your friends’.

It all looks significantly different. The “simpler” part of their mission has certainly been realized. It’s easy to navigate, and there certainly aren’t any unnecessary elements cluttering things up.

The search, too, works as advertised. It’s good at digging-up what you’re looking for, and seems to be heavily weighted towards views/votes.

It will be interesting to see if this drives more people to the main StumbleUpon site instead of just clicking away at their toolbars. I wonder if the iframe toolbar and Su.pr are also partially attempts at doing just that?

Bit.ly is the Top URL Shortener

According to Mashable, Bit.ly is the most-used URL shortener, having passed up the aging TinyURL in terms of traffic. But didn’t we already know that? They’re the default shortener for Twitter, they’re the least likely to close their doors (for reasons of funding and long-term plans), and people just seem to like them.

Traffic: Bit.ly vs TinyURL

More interestingly, the Mashable posting covers the rankings and traffic stats for the other four top shorteners.

The top two are Bit.ly and TinyURL, with Ow.ly coming in third with roughly one sixth of Bit.ly’s traffic. Is.gd and Tr.im are a distant fourth and fifth, respectively, with less U.S. visitors between themselves than Ow.ly.

Project Retweet: Twitter is Adding Native Retweet Support

If you follow social media coverage much, you’ve probably heard already through Mashable or TechCrunch: Twitter is rethinking the retweet, and integrating native API calls for retweeting into the service.

Project Retweet

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Revenge of the DiggBar

Digg LogoYou probably remember the controversy over Digg’s “DiggBar.” Marketed as a URL shortener integrated with Digg, with some other sharing options as well, it had a rough start because of a few technical and behavioral problems that web publishers weren’t too happy about.

Well, the DiggBar is “evil” again.

A few days ago, Digg threw the switch on a change to how the DiggBar works. No longer do Digg short URLs (e.g. http://digg.com/u39A9h) automatically redirect to their target. They now point you to the Digg page instead of the source.

A new entry surfaced on the Digg blog a couple days later, with this explanation:

As we’ve stated in the past, the DiggBar is meant to streamline the Digg experience and provide our registered users with the opportunity to catch up on comments, related stories and additional source content. Our strategy with Digg short URLs is to facilitate sharing of Digg content, not to be a conventional redirection service.

They pulled a bait-and-switch, moving from something that made sense, and could potentially bring more traffic and content to Digg, to something that users won’t find anywhere near as useful. People want to share content, not pages that link to content.


TweetBoard is an interesting new service that sprang up a few days ago. It’s sort of a way of bringing Twitter conversation onto your website.

Tweetboard is a fun and engaging micro-forum type application for your website. It pulls your Twitter stream in near real-time (max 1 min delay), reformatting tweets into threaded conversations with unlimited nesting. Conversations that spun off the original conversation are also threaded in-line, giving your site visitors full perspective of what’s being discussed.

As people leave their messages on your TweetBoard, they simultaniously add them to their Twitter account, complete with a link back to the conversation, adding a bit of a viral twist.

The service is currently in public alpha. All you have to do is request an invite, which will be approved instantly, then add the JavaScript to your website, just before the </body> tag.

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What the Twitter API Needs…

Do you know what the Twitter API is missing? A way to sync the last status you read.

I use a Twitter client on my laptop (Tweetie), and I use another (Twitterific) on my iPod Touch. And sometimes I might use either Twitter.com or Twhirl when I’m on another computer. Every time I move between devices, I lose my place in the stream of incoming tweets. Any good Twitter client remembers the last tweet you read. The only problem is that little bit of information (simply the numerical ID of a tweet) is locked down to one device.

I propose that Twitter add a new API method that accepts the ID of a single tweet, and stores it. Then any Twitter client could request that information and use it to display the tweets from where you last left off.

Something along the lines of statuses/last_read and statuses/mark_read perhaps?

It’s a little thing that bothers me, and something I’d love to see added to the API.

Ow.ly: What’s You’re Take?

Ow.ly is a URL shortener that has gained a measure of popularity of late. It ties in with the HootSuite service, which allows you to schedule tweets, manage multiple Twitter profiles, and track link statistics. Ow.ly and HootSuite together are sort of like an amalgam of Tweetable, Bit.ly, and TwitterFeed.


But let’s focus on the URL shortener for now. Ow.ly has a clean, easy to use interface. The resulting URLs are along the lines of http://ow.ly/fA3N. As of yet, there is no API available, though one is in the works.

Time for the controversial part.

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Twitter: The RSS Reader for the Masses

I have about twice the number of Twitter followers as I do RSS subscribers.Twitter/RSS

RSS is an open standard built from the ground up to serve-up new content as it is released. It excells at delivering information and making it readable in a quick and efficient manner. Yet it is still, for the most part, confined to the realms of geekdom.

Despite the strengths of RSS, it hasn’t been adopted by the general public, while Twitter, a proprietary social networking site, has. It’s a bit harder to understand RSS over Twitter, and subscribing to feeds isn’t the easiest thing in the world.

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