The problem with Twitter’s official Retweet feature

Something’s been bothering me about Twitter’s version of the Retweet.  A lot has been said about the pros and cons of the feature, but here’s my main problem with it:

You can’t easily see when you’ve been retweeted, and by who.

Twitter Retweets don’t show up in your stream as @ Mentions, so the only way to see when you’ve been retweeted, and by who, is by going to Twitter.com, clicking on “Retweets” in the right nav, and then clicking on the “Your tweets, retweeted” tab.  That’s just too many clicks.  Some iPhone apps like Echofon and Tweetie support the Twitter Retweet, but they don’t show you who retweeted you.

The problem with this is that it reduces Twitter’s sense of community.  I often like communicating with those who retweet me, and this takes away that ability (unless you go through a lot of work on Twitter.com).

There are, of course, other issues with the Twitter Retweet function, like:

  • No ability to add your own comments (but this is what the “/via @” syntax is for, so that’s probably ok)
  • Diluting the value of retweets because some people use Twitter’s Retweet feature, and others use the traditional “RT @” syntax
  • Weird and confusing syntax when someone uses Twitter’s Retweet function to retweet a “RT @” tweet.
  • Tweetdeck, Echofon, Tweetie… they all handle Twitter Retweets differently, so it makes for a confusing UI.  For example, if I want to unfollow someone who Retweeted something, I can’t do that from within the tweet-level functions in Tweetdeck.

This might sound like I’m nitpicking, but it’s not my intention.  I applaud Twitter’s initiative to embrace the Retweet function.  And I think ever since Doug Bowman joined the Twitter design team, they have made Twitter.com a lot more useful with some great features.

But I do think this Retweet thing isn’t quite working yet.  I think having Twitter Retweets show up in your @ Mentions would solve a big part of this issue.  So, Doug – can you make that happen please!?