Before the Super Bowl I figured that I might use twitter once in a while to make a comment, but as the game and commercials began I was re–twittering or RT’ing more so. I was passing along comments that I thought were worth mentioning to those that others might not have read since they possibly weren’t following the same people. I made a comment from time to time but the majority of my publish button action was from other people’s content. I was acting as curator and editor from my twitter position. Occasionally the RT would exceed the 140 character count b/c the added name pushed the available space. So on occasion I had to edit the tweet to get it to a point that would fit into the space. A common edit would be turning the word “advertising” in “ad”. But it got me to thinking. There was nothing holding me back from changing the entire comment of the RT into something completely different – and attributing that info to someone else. That kind of action is unlikely but does allow someone to really sabatoge a twitter rep to some degree. I also noticed that when you click on the RT persons name, it doesn’t send you to the original post but a general feed of that person. If that person is a heavy twitter user the original post could be pages back and not viewable after the original click. The above board shows the ux breakdown and a typical post.
So with a couple modifications I tried to figure out a way that would give the indication if the tweet was indeed the original RT or if it had been modified in any way. The quickest way was to show a lock to indicate whether it had been kept the way the post was intended to be, or have it unlocked to indicate if it indeed had been open. I also placed a text version at the end of the post as most twitter readers don’t show any image aside from the profile pic. Fairly simple stuff – I also changed up what it meant to show the RT. Turn that into part of the link for the original post, so if I click on that I get the actual post without needing to try to figure out when in the flow a post came from.
I also mocked up what it the changes would look in TweetDeck. In my guesstimation the RT is kind of an untapped action at the moment. There’s lots of interesting conversations that can branch off of a RT. It’s impossible for me to know if people are doing strange things with a RT and a username, but the potential is there to be not so nice with it. A bigger issue however is that it’s annoying to click on a RT url and not getting the direct post. That is something that should be considered sooner than later.