Why I like Twitter’s new RT feature – and why you should use it

It’s not exactly that new – and it seems as if people are beginning to accept it – but still many users have not come to understand why Twitter’s retweet functionality is a great addition rather than an annoying feature.

From the beginning there has been considerable resistance against the feature. That’s quite the usual, seems as if even social media early adopters have a huge bunch of conservative techno-critics among them. One of the main points of criticism was that the new tool does not allow to add a comment to the retweeted text. Well, duh: You don’t need to use it every time you retweet something.

But in some cases it would be nice if people would start to adopt it. Today, there was an occasion which made this extremely clear. It was the day of the first hearing of the class-action law suit against the data retention bill before Germany’s federal constitutional court. There are about 35.000 complainants – more than ever before – so interest in the case is high. Still, only three people were twittering out of the court (as you needed to have a press card to take a laptop with you), using the hash tags #vds (“VorratsDatenSpeicherung”, en.: data retention) and #BVerfG (BundesVerfassungsGericht, en.: federal constitutional court).

Following these hash tags on Twitter, users would want to get the coverage from people inside the court room, plus commentary from others following the event (at least that’s what I assume). Well, here’s what they got:

bverfg

@akvorrat is the account of the working group against data retention, twittering from the court room. The other messages are retweets of either @akvorrat’s coverage or commentary on it. The news stream for the hash tag is polluted with redundant messages. Because people are using the old retweet method. Twitter’s new feature cleans the stream of redundant information. In my opinion, that’s a huge plus in usability.