Last week I wrote about Twitter’s controversial changes to native retweet functionality. And, today, I’m wondering if there is a better way…
In my blog post on retweets, I suggested that the RT can be used to flag up interesting comments, posts or links. It does this in a very simple way: by putting the tweet in question into the stream of your followers (this happens in both the ‘old’ and ‘new’ forms of the RT).
I think this might be a broken feature however. There are problems with the old RT function – for example, a popular link can crop up time and time again in your feed and some tweeters who RT too often can become irksome.
The new method has its flaws too, with random tweets assigned to people you don’t follow cropping up out of the blue.
What about the favourite feature?
With these questions in mind, I was interested to read a post by Keith from Knowthenetwork.com, flagged to me by Courtney Engle examining the ‘favourite’ feature in Twitter.
I hardly ever favourite tweets. That’s not to say that I don’t have favouite tweets, I just don’t really see the need to ‘favourite’ them – where’s the gain or the value?
If I want to share a tweet, I’ll RT it. If I want to praise a fellow tweeter, rather than favouriting their tweet, I’ll probably just send them a reply or a DM. The only time I really use this feature is to flag something that I want to remember or possibly explore or catch up on at a later date – not how it was intended to be used.
Keith’s post looks at the inability to ‘tag’ content in Twitter. He points out that the ‘favourite’ feature is really the only way to do this and mentions how Robert Scoble is now using this feature, which is giving it more prominence.
But for me, the problem with the favourite feature is that it doesn’t allow me to see the favourites from those I follow very easily. If I want to check out Robert’s favourite tweets, I need to visit his page on a regular basis, or subscribe to an RSS feed – but with so many tweets being flagged, this could quickly become overwhelming.
Is following favourites the answer?
Wouldn’t it be useful to have the ability to subscribe or ‘follow’ favourites? Then, when Robert or anyone else you respected favourited a tweet, it would then show up in your feed.
With so much content out there, the problem we all face is keeping on top of it all in a manageable way. Tagging is certainly one way to do this, but the tags themselves have to be accessible in order to be useful.
So what about it Twitter…?