Tag Archives: retweets

No applause for retweets

DHH writes about how Basecamp is experimenting with removing their “applause” feature — the clap icon that Medium has also recently adopted:

But as I read through the replies from the few dozen people who answered the question on any given day, I was faced with the dilemma of the clap. If I applauded an update from Sam yesterday, but don’t today, does that mean I’m expressing discontent with the most recent work? If I don’t applaud for Javan on the same day as I applaud for Sam, does that mean I’m parting favor of one over the other?

The problem with these “just click a button instead of sending an actual reply” features is that they fool us into thinking we’ve done something meaningful by clicking. Anyone can click a Twitter heart button to show that they’ve noticed a tweet or enjoyed it. It takes very little effort and doesn’t mean much.

On Micro.blog, favorites are private. They are just for your own use, like bookmarks. We’ve found that the lack of public likes encourages people to reply to posts instead, even if it’s just a quick “Thanks!” or “That’s great!” or other comment. It’s a little more meaningful because it requires a bit of effort.

In an interview with Piers Morgan, Trump said something revealing when pressed on his retweets of a racist group:

Well, I know nothing about them. I did a retweet. You know, retweets… sometimes you do… retweets are very different. When you do your own tweeting, when you do your own social media, it’s fine. When you do those retweets, sometimes they can cause problems.

What Trump is trying to say is that retweets aren’t as important as a tweet you type yourself. Retweets encourage a sort of thoughtless approach to sharing.

We don’t like retweet counts or follower counts in the UI of Micro.blog, because it’s another place for judgement — “this person must not be very interesting if they have so few followers” — instead of letting someone’s content speak for itself. Likes, claps, and retweets aren’t a substitute for a real conversation. We’ll eventually have some form of public reactions on Micro.blog, but we aren’t in any hurry to get there.