Twitter’s ReTweet Beta: An Attack on 3rd Party Tools?


What Happened?

Today I was invited to join the Twitter Retweet Beta Group. Twitter just told me that I’d be “part of a beta group receiving this feature, which means [I] may start seeing retweets in a new way. People who don’t ave this yet will see your retweets prefaced by “RT”.” Naturally, I feel special, but is it really worth all the hype?

Is Twitter Trying to Kill Off 3rd Party Tools?

Twitter can’t seem to keep up, technologically, with the 3rd party tools (TweetDeck, Seesmic, UberTwitter, etc) that support it. Like the suckerfish Remora (what, you don’t watch discovery channel?), these 3rd party apps depend on Twitter, but it looks like Twitter is making attempts to break away.

This little feature places the ability to retweet (essentially, repost) any tweet right inside Twitter’s Web-based interface. Up until now, you had to use a third-party tool, such as TweetDeck, for one-click retweets. This is an obvious attempt to drive away the need for 3rd party tools. “Twitter’s execs are obviously working to get people out of these third-party tools and back onto the parent site by providing many of the features once only found elsewhere.” (PCMag)

Twitter also has another “method” of taking down the suckerfish (aka: 3rd party apps). “Currently, retweets that are executed via the Twitter web “retweet link” are visible to your followers who are using the web interface to read your tweets but are not visible to popular third party clients. […] In other words, third party applications may not have had a chance to integrate the new API. […] If most of your followers read your tweets using third party desktop clients, this “bug” could have a serious impact on your personal retweet rate in the short-term.” (Flip The Media)

Pro’s vs Con’s?

PRO: It’s good to see Twitter making attempts at improving it’s technology. Always a good sign for a company that see’s well over 20MM+ unique visits a month (

CON: The downside for this new tool? You can’t edit the ReTweet. This leaves room for authenticity, but lacks the creativity your follows may crave.

In Conclusion…

Yea, it’s a stretch to make such claims, but it’s working…for now.  It seems everybody has their own opinion about this new feature, but at the end of the day, I find it foolish that everyone is ripping Twitter about this. It’s a game of survival…Twitter has easily one the battle of “popular social networks”. What we don’t know is who will survive the war and be around in 10 years to talk about it.

Posted under Online Marketing, Social Networks, Tech2.0

This post was written by Joshua Russak on November 16, 2009

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