There is an excellent post on TechCrunch about a site for retweeting. I hadn’t really thought about this because using Twitter in a browser doesn’t have this function. TweetDeck does (and if you aren’t using this program as your desktop browser you are loosing some extremely valuable tools and processes) and the wonderful iPhone app Tweetie. The program Retweetist purports that retweeting indicates authority or popularity and the program lists those tweets that have had numerous retweets (enough with the tweets…)
What seems to be happening here is that Twitter, since it seemingly is or is close to mainstream now, is beginning the “authority” or “popularity” or whatever you want to call it game, like past discussions on blogging and Technorati. Benedict Spinoza said something about vain people “It may easily come to pass that a vain man may become proud and imagine himself pleasing to all when he is in reality a universal nuisance.” That sums up the popularity discussion for me.
Those that I have followed who have used Twitter for over a year (and that is a generalization) don’t appear to be playing this game. Those that one follows or are following are part of a network. That network is built up over time and it becomes a valued network. To me it is a very simple criteria to follow someone – I have either met them personally or would like to meet them someday. The popularity that others may speak of is not important because what people state on twitter is for my ears. The authority that is being discussed is moot. Numerous times this network of fellow Twitterers have shared valuable thoughts and insights that have always made my day much more colourful. The stimulus of a single sentence is extremely positive. It is one’s own Bartlett’s – Familiar Quotations. There is humour, sadness, wisdom, political irony, joy and many more emotions attached to these 140 character blurts. I have rarely quit following anyone. That action takes place when people begin to twitter numerous times in a row, numerous days in a row. That isn’t twittering, that is Soapboxing.
Twittering is growing because people are finding new ways to challenge it’s limitations. Allowing saved searches in Tweetie gives you a very valuable tool to keep track of memes you want to follow. Being able to save linked URLs in Instapaper is just plain neat as you can quickly garner the days reading. Tweetdeck’s additional columns for 12 seconds and TwitScoop help tie in tweets to the Internet in a quick and easy fashion. This functionality will only grow. I just wish I could establish different groups to tweet to, like Jaiku (whoops). If everyone you followed, and you followed them for the right reasons, tweeted their most interesting URL once in awhile, that would be better than any search I could create in Google.