How will Twitter's new 'retweet with comment' feature impact on your timeline?


Twitter has ‘hatched’ a new feature over the Easter weekend enabling users to add a comment when retweeting. This is one of the most significant changes to Twitter’s core functions to date and could alter the way in which people use the micro-blogging site.

How will this change tweeting behaviour?

Due to Twitter now prompting for a comment to be added upon each attempted retweet, many users will take Twitter up on the offer and add their views to the retweet. Although the option can be ignored by pressing the retweet button again, it is likely that straight forward / effortless RTs will become less common.

When replying to tweets, many people will now chose to retweet and add a comment instead of a straight forward reply. This will allow them to give a wider context of the conversation to their followers without them having to click ‘expand conversation’.

The ‘retweet with comment’ feature will also replace the ‘quote tweet’ feature where users would normally edit down an existing tweet to make room for their comment all within the 140 character limit.

How will this change what you see in your timeline?

All of the above will result in your timeline showing more tweets from the accounts you follow. People who would hesitate to retweet without context can now add context via the comment facility and are therefore more likely to go through with the action.

And when direct replies would normally only go to the intended recipient and into the timelines of mutual followers, using the ‘retweet with comment’ feature will project the whole tweet into timelines like a new tweet. (Though this could indeed result in a better user experience if you follow users who retweet every mention they get... at least you will get to see the context of their replies now without having to click in and view conversations.)

In terms of quoted tweets, you will now see the whole original tweet as intended, without any editing down – which could prevent misunderstandings / misrepresentations. Though people are still free to copy and paste tweets into new tweets and edit them down.

In summary - expect a busier timeline than normal whilst people get used to the new feature and / or Twitter make some amends to the function following user feedback.

How will you know if someone has retweeted your tweet and added a comment?

Currently, the added comments are appearing in the notifications feed like a normal mention would, but with your original tweet inset below. This may be subject to change as Twitter receives user feedback.

How to retweet with comment:

On Twitter via your web browser, simply press the retweet button as normal and the option to add a comment will appear – add your comment then hit retweet again.

On the iPhone app, press the retweet button and choose ‘quote tweet’ and the same option will appear.

The feature is not available on the Android App yet but is being updated over the next few days apparently.

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