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You may have noticed a new feature on Twitter these past few days: You can now retweet with comments!
Until now, anyone who wanted to comment on a tweet they were retweeting would be forced to use the RT convention, then the original Tweet, and something brief like “<– I totally agree!” tacked on at the end. This was fine in the old days of Twitter where we only used text and links, but with image and video tweets it just looks awkward as the original text had to be shortened to fit the new comment in. But not anymore.
Now, at last we can make a chain of endless “Me too” retweets and make Twitter resemble every bulletin board, forum and group email you’ve ever been a part of. Fantastic. Might be time for a game of Mute, Block, Unfollow.
— Twitter (@twitter) April 6, 2015
Available on iOS, but Not Android
As per most launches of new tools, iOS users can use this straight away, while Android users will have to wait a while to do quote tweets, although they can see them just fine. Nevermind though, we can all use the web.
Quote Tweets Work With Tweetdeck
For Tweetdeck fans, you’ll be pleased to know that you can already use this feature within your favourite Twitter list tool by clicking on “Quote Tweet” after you click the retweet button. This is great news for people using Tweetdeck teams. Buffer and Hootsuite, by comparison, still redirect you to the RT format of retweeting if you’re choosing to “Quote Tweet” or “Edit” respectively.
Throughout Twitter and Tweetdeck, there seems to be two ways of describing what we’re doing here. In some buttons you’re asked to “Quote Tweet”, while in other places you’re just asked to “Add a Comment” while you retweet. It’s not a big deal, but it means you’ll find people using different terms to say exactly the same thing. Officially, Twitter talks about them as “Quote Tweets”.
How Does It Look?
Tweets that have been commented on look slightly different when quoted. The images in the tweet, which are normally shown as a horizontal rectangle, show up as a square to the left of the username and text. You could easily confuse it with a userpic given the positioning.
— Hootsuite Community (@HootCommunity) April 11, 2015
Undoing Quote Tweets
Unlike a normal retweet, you can’t just click on the retweet button again and un-highlight it. If you added a comment, Twitter treats it like a normal tweet and you need to go to the more icon (…) and choose “Delete”.
Features & Bugs
Much as this new comment retweet feature can look pretty good, it’s not without faults. For instance, if you choose to embed a tweet that has commented on another tweet you just see a simple link. On the Twitter site and in Tweetdeck it looks great.
Presumably, there will be many more Twitter clients yet to catch up and feature the quoted tweet properly, too. And in the meantime, your followers using those clients are not going to know what you’re talking about until they click through to the original tweet, which is both a pain and unlikely to happen.
— Angela Alcorn (@AngelaAlcorn) April 11, 2015
The positive side of this move is that your followers CAN easily go back to the original tweet if they wish. How often have you seen someone using the “RT @person Here’s a Link http://link.com <– Wow, I love this!” format and wished you could quickly get back to the original poster’s tweet so you could retweet that instead? Have you ever gone so far as to check the original poster’s timeline only to find that the tweet is long gone into ancient history?
Well, this new retweet commenting tool skips all that fussing about. One click on the original poster’s name and you’re looking at the original tweet.
It also means that if you want to see the original in order to look at the retweets and stars it generated, you can. You can even use it to reply to the original poster and let them keep track of where the conversation started. It may seem trivial, but this can be quite useful if you’re using Twitter a lot, especially for networking and business.
Conversely, it actually makes it one step harder to save the link for reading later in Pocket, as a proper retweet would have the original link in it, whereas quote tweets technically don’t. Even though you can see and click on them, IFTTT won’t pick up the original link, so it won’t save. You’ll be saving a link to the original tweet instead.
Retweet-ception? Not Quite
I did a bit of experimenting and it seems that although you can comment and retweet on a tweet that has already been quoted, the original tweet just looks like a boring link. So much for retweetception.
Thoughts on Twitter Comments
Within the Twitter-Tweetdeck ecosystem, this new quote tweet feature looks pretty good and does have its uses. If they fix their embedding to show the original tweet, the integration will be complete. However, the various Twitter apps still need to catch up, and when they do this will no doubt help user uptake.
What do you think of quote tweets? Will you use them or hate them with a passion?