Last Updated on December 23, 2008
I hate “retweets.”
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past 3 months, you might not be aware of the scourge of a phenomenon sweeping the twittersphere lately… the retweet.
Basically, when someone says anything you find amusing, you include the syntax “R/T” and copy their tweet. Boom. A retweet. In all of its ugliness. My favorite Twitter desktop application, TweetDeck, makes retweeting insanely easy, helping to spread the plague like hungry fleas riding the back of diseased rats. You get my point.
My reasons for hating retweets are varied, so I’ll get into that in another post. But for those of us who loathe these unholy creatures of digital bits, there’s some redeeming value since they do point to trends (albeit not always quality or valuable trends). However, if you’re looking at Twitter, or social media in general, from a 20,000 foot point of view and trying to glean insights, there is some data to be had here.
A nifty new app built on the Google App Engine allows you to see some of the trends being retweeted:
retweetradar – Finding trends in the mountains of information ‘retweet’ed on Twitter.: “retweetradar is a sister site of http://spy.appspot.com your social media ‘spy’, listen to the social media conversation on any term from Twitter to FriendFeed, Flickr to Blogs and more… watch it all in near real time.”
I’m really falling for the Google App Engine. I need to do more exploration there. As a footnote, Scott Jangro has set up a blog there to fool around with the django and Python language native to the platform, so go check that out.
So, even though retweets are the new antichrist, there’s some atonement for them since they do point us to a measurable function of what might be trending hot in terms of a very niche community(ies).
Personally, I’d rather just put a stake through their tiny digital hearts.