Twitter’s newest addition, the improved retweet functionality, has caused an awful lot of frustration for some users, while others love it. Last night though, that functionality disappeared for many, leading to a lot of questions about whether or not the feature is set in stone yet.
Immediately, folks like TechCrunch jumped to ask whether or not Twitter had finally ditched the by-now much maligned retweet functionality. That now seems not to be the case, with many reporting that they’ve seen the new style of retweets reappearing in both their standalone application streams and web-based Twitter feeds. Of course, the big issue here is that Twitter has managed not to put itself in a very awkward position.
The fact is that the new retweet functionality works for some and not for others. The only issue with that is that it seems to be most popular with people who are following fewer users – it gives a more distinct impression of whose content is worth looking at, and thence who may be worth following.
For those of us who are already following a relatively broad array of users, it means that you’ll routinely see the same item being retweeted by multiple users. Normally this leads to a situation where you can tell, at a glance, what the most popular topics of conversation are and who is sparking the discussion or linking to something relevant.
The new retweet mechanic kind of undermines that feel, and while it’s not necessarily negative, it certainly does have the side-effect of making things feel different… and people tend not to like change.