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Twitter’s New Retweet Policy Examined

May 20th, 2010 · 1 Comment

UPDATE- Twitter has announced that they were testing ways to reduce redundant tweets in search results. This testing resulted in removing RT’s by accident. They have decided that is not a good plan so they have reversed this change. Full story here: http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2010/05/20/twitter-responds-to-missing-rts-saga/

Testing the new Twitter Retweet Policy- 4 identical searches conducted at the same time less than 1 hour after the tweets were issued by over 25 different accounts.

Top left= Search from a Twitter User account home page search box- 3 results

Bottom Left= Search from Hoot Suite  (API) – 5 results

Bottom Center = TweetDeck (API) – 5 results

Right = Search on search.twitter.com – 25 results

In this article in The Next Web Brad McCarty wrote that Twitter seems to be forcing people to use the new built in ReTweet function over the traditional insertion of a “RT” before an older tweet.  These various Retweet’s can be most easily distinguished by the way they display in your Twitter stream.

Traditional Retweet:

Twitter Retweet Function:

Twitter is apparently forcing users to use the new Retweet feature this by skewing their search results to not include the old style Retweets displayed in search results.  But they are (apparently) only doing this in the API, not for users searching on with website http://search.twitter.com. 

Frankly I find this implementation to be a curious way to implement the change and a little suspect.  For the common user who uses the Twitter website for their tweets and searches they won’t see this behavior.  But Power User’s who use API driven tools like TweetDeck, or any of the phone access tools they will see searches differently. 

I Twittered about this with the following tweet which was Retweeted by many people in both the Traditional method and the using the Twitter Retweet Function.  So it gave me a beautiful test bed to examine the results.

As you can see in the above tweet Twitter reports that the Retweet function was used 10 times.  But  it was retweeted by others 25 times and running a search on the term only shows 3 tweets:

In this case the tweets are all less than 1 hour old so the warning above doesn’t influence the results.

Running a search on http:search.twitter.com at the same time yields the following result:

Over 25 Retweets with the Traditional style of Retweeting.

The same search run on TweetDeck (5 results) and HootSuite (5 results)

I don’t know what  the rationale is, but there appears to be a very large issue of search results in Twitterville.  This will cause issues for all of the social media analytics platforms out there today.

If I have to speculate I’d say this is an effort to improve the statistics of Twitter, especially as it relates to the new advertising policy.  Tracking “traditional” RT’s is difficult if not impossible with people editing the tweets.  Tracking the new retweet function is simple.  That will improve Twitters analytics for the advertisers and improve the new “Resonance” score for any ad that get’s RT’d.

Give me 1 Good Reason why you think Twitter is doing this?

Posted via email from ckieff’s posterous

Tags: Reasons For Net Marketing

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Ben Watson // May 20, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Originality is being rewarded by being identified as unique?

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