Twitter & Mass Media
Last month, Knowledge Plaza got awarded with the “Innovation Award in Knowledge Management” at the event I-EXPO/KM Forum (Paris), which yearly gathers information and knowledge management experts and practitioners (business intelligence, librarians, etc.) -that is ca. 6,000 visitors and 150 exhibitors.
Couple of things I’d like to remind here:
- It’s only at webpage: Twitter.com If you RT from webpage, those RTs aren’t shown anywhere else…(thinking seriously about implications for third-party services, and more importantly, for users themselves! -read below)
- If you are not Twitter friends, RTs won’t visible.
- You can undo retweet
- You can deactivate someone’s RTs, ie. if you disable that user’s RTs (not necessarily blocking) you won’t get the RTs in your timeline.
Battle lines are drawn over Twitter’s ‘new’ retweet feature. And here’s mine too:
I guess Twitter team wants to take the ‘filtered by the people you follow’ (sounds familiar?) more seriously, though not exactly more rightly. IMHO*, they have made some wrong choices (time will tell, as always):
1. Not allowing comments on the RT message, with new RT system you just RT it and there’s no way to add your opinion to the RT. Despite what E. Williams claims on his blog (or Dave Winer for that matter), I think that might cause more noise than signal…How many people will end up retweeting just to get noticed without actually checking whether the source url was worth the RT? How many lazy and “spammy” users are out there? What if you want to say you don’t agree with the RT…and what about ‘via’?
2. There’s no “RT @username RT @username” or whatever anymore. This way, -always IMO- you’re downgrading or simply nuking the potential or scope for new contacts building.
3. It groups RTs (which is ok, grouping conversation around items…that theoretically can help organize information) but it just lists the users/avatars who have retweeted it, not showing additional comments on their rts, etc. (bcs hey, they have killed that too, remember?)…So basically, it’s like saying: I just want to show/know how many people have RTed my stuff…Numbers and not content? Is that more fodder for the vanity fair?
4. The fact of putting ‘strangers’ in your stream: Actually I’m not sure that’s bad if handled correctly. For instance right now with Microplaza 1.0, you can see tweets from people who don’t belong to your network. Why? “When someone shares a link on Twitter we are able to show everyone else who shared the link as well. We think it’s more interesting to see everyone’s tweet in relation to a link rather than just your network“. Actually the way I see is like this: you can always find new people who share same interests (yours or your friends), and might help you discover new interesting profiles. Somehow, I understand we like to keep our social networks for ourselves and our like-minded mates, but, there’s a danger in that too. Instead of expanding, we might and only might be going ‘mirrorly’ inward…There are some great posts out there on this issue of letting strangers in your stream and those (check comments as well) are opinions we should take into account. For instance, Lisa Barone‘s post or Randy Thornton‘s.
But if that ‘stranger’ was the one who started the tweet chain…I think s/he also deserves the credit. We have to realize there’s a world beyond our walled-in networks. And yes, there are many retweet hijackers out there…
All in all, I agree with the opinion that it shouldn’t have been called RT but ‘Like it’. It’s like Facebook/Friendfeed ‘like’ feature. Because there’s no separate tweet, that tweet gets some added metadata: s.o retweeted it (=s.o liked it) and I can’t help but think that they did so to ease and lighten Twitter stream load / API…? Ha. Sure.
And, is it legit? Is it legit that a widely accepted convention that came up from the people becomes something completely different? Isn’t that like modifying or controlling crowd’s natural flow? Why “fix” something that isn’t broken? Although I try to buy the ‘filtering noise vs signal’ line, if that’s so, what don’t you address the REAL big problem of SPAM (for instance, Twitter notification email is a spam gateway)…
No wonder why some start to wonder whether there’s a hidden agenda on this new retweet system (twitter thinking about Google and Bing integration).
Overall, as a user, I’m disappointed. As the manager of an third-part app, I’m worried.
Truth is (and we SHALL never forget) Twitter is a company and it’s very much reasonable that they do with their service what they want (even crowdsourcing ‘translation’…)
But, I’m curious and optimistic too, there’s nothing finite and things evolve. I trust the collective intelligence of organic communities…Maybe we’ll see a wider adoption of open source options such as status.net?
*This is solely my opinion and not Whatever’s. Like any other blog post here by any other Whatever workmate.
Looking back to the past 20 years on technology, one can easily notice a pendulum cycle that gets repeated at each stage. This post doesn’t intend to be a review on the history of web so to sum it up we could state that we always start with horizontal approaches and thus horizontal apps, and as long as users (mainly early adopters) use & spread a given app, new needs arise, which have to be addressed especifically. Basically it’s always from horizontal to vertical, take search engines evolution for instance, or the evolution from websites to blogs, or the current development of social networks…from unspecialized to specialized ones. Take Twitter, a horizontal organic app. After the huge widespread (but still insufficient to be called a killer app adopted by non-techie mainstream, just like email or msn messaging did) of Twitter, 3rd-party solutions show up to tap Twitter stream for specific purposes.