Welcome to your echo-chamber: Twitter turns on self-retweets

Chris Davies - Jun 14, 2016, 4:22 pm CDT
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Welcome to your echo-chamber: Twitter turns on self-retweets

If there’s nothing so lovely to you as the sound of your own voice, rejoice: today, Twitter has turned on the ability to retweet your own tweets. The functionality was promised as part of Twitter’s big update back in May, when it also announced changes to how @-names were counted to the 140 character limit.

Previously, while you could retweet another person’s message on Twitter to your own timeline, it was impossible to the same to your own tweets. Similarly, quote support for other tweets was also absent for your own.

The change today means that resurrecting old messages is easier than ever: no longer do you need to copy and paste the content. Your own retweet is counted toward the total retweet tally each tweet stores, too.

Of course, the potential downside is that the self-obsessed could easily use the new function for, if not evil, then at least perpetual self-promotion. If you’re so inclined yourself, it might be worth keeping an eye on how many people end up unfollowing you in the process.

It’s all part of Twitter’s attempt to make tweet behavior more predictable and straightforward. That includes changing visibility for tweets that begin with an “@” symbol.

Most recently, starting a tweet with “@” would limit who who could see it to those following both you and the @-username specifically. A shortcut to ensure everybody following you could see the tweet in their timeline was to add a period to the start of the message.

Now, though, new tweets that start with an “@” will be visible too all; only those that are replies will follow the old system.

Multiple @-usernames at the start of a tweet will also not be counted toward the 140 character limit, as is also now the case with attachments to tweets. However, URLs to external sites do take a bite out of those 140 characters.

Even though Twitter is trying to make things easier, it’s still likely to prove confusing, at least initially.


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