Retweetiquette- when to use the new or old retweet, or use multiple accounts

Not so long ago Twitter launched their retweet functionality. They did so after users had started passing interesting tweets on to their own followers, most of them using the RT format. OK, so not everybody was completely thrilled with the Twitter implementation, mainly because it doesn’t allow you to add your own comment to a tweet. It does however allow Twitter to filter out multiple retweets by the ones that follow you. And also, Twitter can track the number of retweets, thereby revealing what tweets are popular.

What happens if you use the RT format: you get all the messages as Twitter cannot filter out the doubles. For instance, I follow a lot of people that work for Layar.com: Raimo, Maarten , Claire and Dirk (G). They are know people in the Dutch internet scene, and are avid Twitter users. So whenever they won a new prize or have a new job opening, they retweet each other. Unfortunately a lot by using the RT format, and so I get those messages with exactly the same content, 4 times.

Now, lately I have become aware of a new trend among power users, in particular journalists/bloggers that have a personal account and also maintain business twitter accounts. Take for instance Mike Butcher, one of the guys behind Techcrunch Europe. Using powertools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite it is possible to publish one update using multiple accounts, and thereby 2 tweets from 2 different are accounts are sent out. So when you follow both Mike and TCEurope, again you get 2 tweets with exactly the same content. Aha, not adding any value no. So how bad is this? Well that depends on the overlap of followers. Mike has personally around 15,000 followers, TCEurope 10,000. Overlap? I estimate 7-8.000 followers. So all of these get the same tweet twice.

So how should we retweet, what should the retweetiquette be? My proposal:

  1. use the official retweet functionality as offered on twitter.com
  2. only, and only if you have interesting content to add, use the RT format
  3. do not use multiple accounts to send the same message. Instead, use one account to send the original and use the other to retweet the official way

This way users do not get tweets too many times, and Twitter can calculate all kinds of interesting stats. What do you think?

Hyves OpenSocial Hackaton

Tomorrow (wednesday august 13th) I will be attending the Hyves OpenSocial hackaton. About 30-40 programmers will get together to try out the new OpenSocial platform and create some cool gadgets soon everybody will be able to put on their Hyves page.

Hyves will support version 0.7, the version with Javascript but without REST support. So why am I attending? Well, I helped Hyves out integrating Shindig, the java implementation of OpenSocial at Hyves. So I am there to see if all works as intended:)

For more info, check out the Hyves API hyve.

Who’s owner of your social data? you?

Again a big debate is evolving about who is the owner of your data in social networks, what can you or a third party that you authorize do with the data. A couple of months ago Robert Scoble was banned from Facebook for using an unreleased feature from Plaxo, to scrape info from his contacts on Facebook and import it into Plaxo. Now Google launched a new tool last week called Google Friend Connect. It let’s you grab content from one site and publish it to another. Again, the whole service was blocked by Facebook. The guys at Techcrunch do not agree but say this is really about control of user profiles, and therefore where the users go.

Not really a surprise, that Facebook is not allowing them, no?

As social networks will always want to make you use their web site for advertisement purposes, they will not be inclined to let you easily export your data. So a (or a few) big central trustworthy authority would be best, something like OpenID.

One of the major problems with this approach: if they just keep the data and provide API’s, where’s their business model? Advertisements is not going to work, so the only way would be to let users pay for centralized storage. Will they? Maybe they might, but it will take some time before the users start to get used to this idea and become willing to pay. In the mean time, cat fights will go on, between major networks with tons of user profiles and little (social that is, Google is quite big otherwise) guys that want to tap into that information.