Tuesday, June 30, 2009

RT - What?

I think differently. My mind works in mysterious ways that don't always align with the common world view.

RT on twitter

The first time I saw "RT @twitter_user_name" what automatically ran through my head was the phrase: "right at twitter_user_name." As in a shout out to the person who first came up with the material. Makes sense right? I thought so. I was thoroughly disappointed to find out in conversation with a few friends that "RT @" really means "ReTweet of twitter_user_name's post", or, as I like to think of it: 'What He Said.'

Why its confusing:
What still bothers me about the whole ReTweet thing, is the syntax that goes along with it. In apps like TweetDeck, PowerTwitter etc., the citation comes before the text of the original tweet. This makes no sense to me, and makes commenting on the tweet tricky. Some people use quotes around the original tweet, or around their comment. Others use brackets, or '...' to break up the tweet. And then different people use parenthesis at the very end. Call me old school, but this is one instance where I think the older, call it analogue even, traditional method of citations works best.

[nerd moment: the first time I thought about this I definitely dusted off my MLA Handbook from High School]

My Solution:
According to Perdue's MLA Formatting and Style Guide, the format for citing a short quote (a tweet fits that description) in a text is this:

Applied to twitter it looks something like this:

"Really cool tweet that I wanted to share" (RT @twitter_user_name) or
"Really cool tweet that I wanted to share" (@twitter_user_name)

Either way just makes sense. You can add your comments before or after the ReTweet, and everyone understands who is saying what. In its basic form, it links back to the twitter_user_name's feed, functioning similar to a works cited. Most Apps do an even better job of tying 'RT' and '@' to conversations between users as well.

My Thoughts on Twitter
My view on twitter is that it is a new, public, communication medium. Tweets can spark conversation between individuals who otherwise may have never communicated. (Awesome) I think that its important to share your thoughts clearly, and this take on ReTweets helps with clarity...I'm also that girl who tries to tweet in complete sentences, and gets frustrated when people use too many pronouns in their tweets, and think the world is full of mind readers.

What do you think?

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