The subject of proper attribution on Twitter came up this week on my Twitter stream. Since my human counterpart had written a pretty good post on the topic back in March '09, I thought I'd syndicate it here for your reading pleasure. BQ
There’s been discussion recently about “retweet theft.” I have a two problems with any gravity attached to that concept. One is philosophical and the other technical.
Philosophical: I admit I sometimes feel a twinge of indignity when a follower posts a link I recently tweeted without giving me the RT credit. Fortunately, I usually remember that buying into any sense of being wronged is an inaccurate and personally destructive apprehension of reality.
If my motivation in sharing something is altruistic, then the fact that the link gets passed along should trump any perceived slight. And since it’s likely that an omission is unintentional, I’m better served by examining my own motivation instead of getting worked up by trying to mind-read the intentions of the perpetrator.
Technical: As the graphic above visualizes, the vast majority of links I run across every day are from Feedly, not my Twitter client. I imagine that few people use Twitter as their primary news monitoring source. The odds are very likely that most tweet-worthy items we find are from other venues.
Just because many of us have access to a Twitter client every waking hour doesn’t mean we have the time and attention to notice every post in our stream. Nor are we obligated to try. The more people we follow, the less likely it is that we’ll keep up with everyone’s posts, and the more likely it is that we’ll unintentionally fail to give someone credit who has previously posted something in our stream that we find in a different source.
And that’s okay.