Will retweets soon be rebranded as “shares” on Twitter? For some, that has already happened, as the change in terminology began rolling out for some mobile users this week.
Word first spread last week about Twitter’s plans to do away with both hashtags and @-replies – and many Twitter users were less than happy about it. Now it appears Twitter users may soon be forced to say goodbye to retweeting and embrace sharing, a change which would bring it in line with how Facebook refers to sharing content.
Normally, when a user clicks the retweet button, a box pops up with “Retweet,” or if you are a mobile user, it will also give an option to “Quote Retweet.” However this week, it has been changed on some mobile devices to “Share with Followers” and “First Add Comment,” the latter of which is arguably far more confusing than “Quote Retweet.”
Image via SFGate
So far, it seems to be a limited rollout, with only a small percentage of Twitter users seeing the change.
One of the problems Twitter has is that new users find the platform confusing. The term retweet means nothing to most new users, unless they have heard the terminology used in news stories or on a mainstream show, such as the Oscars. Using the term “share” could help new users more quickly understand the retweet button.
However, retweeting is definitely a term users associate with Twitter. If someone says they plan to retweet something, you know immediately that they are planning to share it on Twitter. But if someone says they plan to share something, most people will immediately think Facebook, which could actually hurt Twitter.
Twitter would be better off using the new, more basic, “share” terminology with new users, those who recently signed up, those with a low number of followers or numbers of people they follow, rather than using it on people who are very active on the site and clearly know what the retweet is. This would give new users the helping hand they might need when they’re trying to figure out and navigate the world of Twitter, and it wouldn’t alienate the long-time and active users by switching up the terminology on them, and forcing the “share” language upon them.
Twitter’s own help files still refer to it as retweeting, not sharing.
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