Why Twitter Should Re-Name the Re-Tweet

May 10, 2010 at 11:28 pm Leave a comment

Why would Twitter tinker with arguably its most powerful feature?

Let’s face it, the name “re-tweet” is an idiosyncrasy – one of many on Twitter (ex: “hashtag”). Idiosyncrasies are hurdles to new users. And Twitter has an issue engaging new users. It needs to overcome these issues to ensure it remains as powerful a conversational medium as it is a broadcast medium.

So re-name “re-tweet” what it really is: “like”.  The reason we re-tweet is because we read YouTube's New Like Buttonsomething we like. Instead of working hard to educate new users on a unique convention, let’s teach them to hit the “like” button.  Easy.

There’s no harm following a popular convention, as YouTube recently demonstrated. And there’s no bigger rival to Facebook than Google, so if they can swallow their pride to adopt a convention that Facebook popularized, Twitter can as well.  The change would initially create hassles for the Twitter community, but we’ve survived changes before. And it will be easier to manage sooner, rather than later.

This seems to be a relatively simple way to make Twitter easier to use and maintain the power of the re-tweet.  And that will lead to an increase in engagement that will serve all of us better. “Re-tweet” needs to go.

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