Saturday, May 21, 2011

That Bitch Stole My Retweet

I received a DM recently that accused me of reposting a tweet without giving proper RT attribution. I didn't have a clue about which one I allegedly pilfered, but she unfollowed me so I couldn't DM and figure out what happened. The following essay is from a 2009 post from one of my human counterpart's blogs and sums up my take on the topic:
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.


Skylar Smythe said...

Definitely grounds for removing earrings and sharp jewelry and ... cat fight.



Miso Susanowa said...

Gang Fight!

Jim Tarber said...

In addition to what you said, the 140 character limit is often pushed all the way, and the choice to provide credit requires chopping part of the content. Also, your followers may wonder why you are retweeting something if you don't at least add a couple of words, and again the 140 character limit is the root of great evils.

But I also fully agree with your philosophy that tweeting something is sharing it, and the important thing is getting it out. With 140 characters, the main thing is to get that content reported.

Saera Pfeffer said...

Besides, the question we all answer on Twitter is "Whats happening?" Anyone having issues with a re tweet, probably shouldn't post their ideas on Twitter.

Joey1058 said...

Warning: Old guy comment. Be kind...

I'm a person that just barely graduated beyond the "I just don't get it" stage. Yes, it's a great source for raw news as it happens. But people are being rude for 140 characters? With that kind of mentality, I'd rather rely on dead tree reporting. Yeah, it's 24 to 48 hours old, but it supposedly has accuracy from seasoned reporters. What happens if you have 12 dozen tweets of the same news, and half to two thirds of them are retweeting each other? that kind of redundancy is unnecessary in a final report.

So I say it's not your fault.

Unknown said...

Remember to give credit anyway.

Please pay attention to that.

If I read something smart I want to know where it comes from, so that I can subscribe/follow if I'm interested.

Complaining in an aggressive way as that user did with Botgirl - that is a completely different matter.

Botgirl Questi said...

Skylar & Miso: :)

Jim & oobscure: I always credit someone when the source for my link is a tweet. So I'm not advocating the elimination of the RT reference. Only that it's very common for multiple people who are connected on Twitter to bump into the same items elsewhere and share it. So although there are some people who intentionally omit the RT, I'm confident that in most cases it's just that like minds gravitate to the same information sources and independently make the same choices about what to share.

Saera: I agree. I don't know what's more pitiful, intentionally deleting an "RT @name" to take credit for finding something, or getting mad because someone didn't credit you. :)

Joey: Good point. That's why I seldom RT something that I think most of the people in my stream have already seen, or that isn't of interest to a parallel group of my followers.