Monday, October 29, 2018

Should Twitter scrap retweets not likes?

There have been reports today that Twitter is considering scrapping its like button, though the Independent says it will not be happening any time soon.

But, says Taylor Lorenz on The Atlantic site, it is not likes that are Twitter's problem:
if Twitter really wants to foster more healthy conversation, the like button is a puzzling target. "Given so much hate and bile and disinformation and harassment on this website it’s not an immediately obvious move to eliminate the heart shaped button people use to show each other support and appreciation," my colleague James Hamblin tweeted. 
Besides, retweets, not likes, are Twitter's most powerful method of reward. 
The quest to accrue retweets regularly drives users to tweet outlandish comments, extremist opinions, fake news, or worse. Many users knowingly tweet false and damaging information and opinions in an effort to go viral via retweets. Entire Twitter accounts have been built on this strategy. If Twitter really wants to control the out-of-control rewards mechanisms it has created, the retweet button should be the first to go.
And he refers us to an earlier Atlantic article where Alexis. C. Madrigal describes life without retweets:
Twitter has a tool that lets you turn off retweets from one person at a time. But I follow thousands of people, so my office mate, who happens to be a skilled programmer, wrote a script for me that turned off retweets from everybody. 
Retweets make up more than a quarter of all tweets. When they disappeared, my feed had less punch-the-button outrage. Fewer mean screenshots of somebody saying precisely the wrong thing. Less repetition of big, big news. Fewer memes I’d already seen a hundred times. Less breathlessness. And more of what the people I follow were actually thinking about, reading, and doing. It’s still not perfect, but it’s much better.
It's nice to get a lot of retweets, if only because it may bring you more followers, but I think there is something to be said for this idea.

No comments: