[Air-L] Twitter Re-Design

Mary K. Bryson mary.bryson at ubc.ca
Wed Nov 11 19:58:48 PST 2009

Thanks for sending this fabulous paper, danah -

Danah + colleagues' paper provides lots of really good examples that
underscore the socio-cultural complexities of retweeting - and to the point
here, specifically what will be lost in Twitter's own redesign of the RT
syntax. Twitters redesigned syntax --
Described here --

--drops the identity of the sender of the RT as a communicative agent out of
the RT message. This break in the social economy of Twitter's crowd sourcing
network eliminates the additional information provided by the linkage
between the author-A- of the tweet that gets retweeted by Sender-B - and
that information, in the case of my own use of Twitter, is specifically and
importantly part of the reputational economy that tells me fairly reliably -
Sender B provides very reliable information about blogs and consumer health
info - for example - therefore, I will likely want to take 5 seconds and
click on this URL. If I don't know author-A - and this is how the retweet
will show up in Twitter's new design -- as a message from someone I don't
actually follow - the likelihood that I will look at the URL is close to
Much <intelligence> is lost in this redesign.


> From: danah boyd <aoir.z3z at danah.org>
> Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 19:15:44 -0500
> To: Mary Bryson <mary.bryson at ubc.ca>
> Cc: <air-l at listserv.aoir.org>
> Subject: Re: [Air-L] Twitter Re-Design
> I share your disappointment.  Scott Golder, Gilad Lotan, and I investigated
> retweeting practices in the spring and summer and found a whole plethora of
> different practices that are not supported by this implementation.  We wrote
> this up in a HICSS paper that will be published and presented in January, but
> we've made a draft version available for those who want to know more about
> retweeting: 
> Tweet, Tweet, Retweet: Conversational Aspects of Retweeting on Twitter
> danah boyd, Scott Golder, Gilad Lotan
> HICSS 2010
> http://www.danah.org/papers/TweetTweetRetweet.pdf
> Enjoy!
> danah
> On Nov 11, 2009, at 12:39 PM, Mary K. Bryson wrote:
>> RE: Why Retweet works the way it does
>> http://evhead.com/2009/11/why-retweet-works-way-it-does.html
>> <BY: Evan Williams (born March 31, 1972) is an American entrepreneur who has
>> founded several Internet companies, including Pyra Labs (creator of
>> weblog-authoring software Blogger) and Twitter, of which he is currently
>> CEO.>
>> I think it's interesting that Ev <creator of Twitter> misses the most valued
>> function of the retweet <to this user>, which is the linkage between the
>> retweeter and the original author of the RT tweet - the creator of Twitter's
>> new modification of retweet removes the citation factor - The current
>> Twitter syntax of say, Richard Smith retweeting something about surveillance
>> and blogging makes me follow a link about say, blogging, precisely because
>> Richard Smith is citing it. For the URL simply to appear in my InBox from ZX
>> would be meaningless. This is a good example of where a tool designer fails
>> to talk to users about what is good about the actual design and what would
>> then, be lost in the supposed "improvement".
>> Mary
>> -- 
>> Dr. Mary K. Bryson, Professor and Director, Network of Centers and
>> Institutes in Education (NCIE) & Center for Cross-Faculty Inquiry (CCFI),
>> Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia
>> Archive: http://ubc.academia.edu/MaryKBryson
>> CCFI: Innovation Works Here
>> http://ccfi.educ.ubc.ca/
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> ------
> "taken out of context, i must seem so strange" -- ani
> http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/
> http://www.danah.org/
> @zephoria

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