RT vs via
It recently transpired on a twitscussion about the difference between RT (Retweet) or using (via @). This blog was one I found (and one of the main culprits) after searching for RT vs via. He actually acknowledges the difference between the two, and it’s something that I also wanted to talk about, or when I think would be appropriate to use each.
Okay, so we have Retweet (RT). Retweet is generally regarded as a re-post of a tweet verbatim, giving all credit to the original author of the tweet. It might have the following syntax (as is common):
RT @username: <message>
We use via
1. by a route that touches or passes through; by way of: to fly to Japan via the North Pole.
to reword a tweet (maybe even a link) into our own tweet with our own input into what we think about it, but giving some of the credit to the original poster of the material. Note however, that this doesn’t have to have originated with a tweet, it could be given to you over IM, real life, or magazines etc. It might have the following syntax (as is common):
<message> (via @username)
Where I would use either
Last week I made two tweets in the same day, both using each syntax differently. I have two “sets” of friends which I can quite easily say, very rarely likely to meet each other or know each other as well as I know either of them. Lets look at the tweets:
RT @bekishepherd: And the degree is done! [weyhey! Congrats BEGGY! ]
4:09 PM May 20th from DestroyTwitter
Retweet – I retweeted my sister after she made this tweet (and also added a bit more to the end of it) because I wanted to let all of my friends know (both sets, who she doesn’t follow) know that she’s finished her degree. The aim was that they would see her user name and reply to her or me to pass on their congratulations too. It was something I was sure that most people would not ever have seen if they hadn’t have gone looking for it, but that I would want other people to see. This is how you appropriately use Retweet.
Via – Here, “H”, a person who I work with, sent me the idea over IM in work. He doesn’t have a twitter account so I couldn’t link to a tweet that he made, however, I still felt it necessary to include him in the tweet, because it’s quite cool and interesting, and he deserves credit. I didn’t retweet him because he didn’t make a tweet, and I made up all of the tweet myself with the exception of the idea. This is the correct way to use via.
It originally frustrated me because the original author of the blog post for tweetie (a Mac and iPhone app) acknowledged the difference between RT and via, and then blatantly went back on what he was saying and left the option out of the app (since writing the blog I believe the app does have the option now but it “very deeply hidden in the settings”). This is bad because he’s blurring the distinction that he quite clearly made, for users of his app and really not helping the situation. If he’s going to provide the functionality of re-posting blogs verbatim, leave off the “(via @username)” on the end of the tweet. It’s the wrong usage (and the incorrect usage of the ENGLISH WORD) of the function via, and rather than not filling twitter up with RT spam (like he claims), he’s actually filling it up with incorrect spam, which I think is even worse. If he wants to make twitter a better service with more original content, then he has to acknowledge that both RT and via exist in his app, and to his customers/users; hiding the definition from them is not the way to do it, it’s education.
On a side
It would be nice, regarding RT’s if it only retweeted back to people who follow you, if they don’t mutually follow you and the retweeter.
For example, say I was to retweet a friend of mine. If you followed him (and obviously followed me too) then you would not see the retweet because you’d have seen the original. The only people to see the retweet would be someone like my sister, who doesn’t follow anyone else I know. She follows me, so sees the tweet; and people who follow me and the retweetee, don’t. Simple – a bit less spam for the people who’re seeing duplicate tweets, and more spam for the people who’ve not seen the original.