Twitter rolling out its own retweet button

Chris Caceres · November 5, 2009 · Short URL:

Microblogging site continues to add new features to service

Last week Twitter rolled out its new "Lists" feature to try and get its declining users more engaged. 

Today the micro-blogging service announced it's launching its own official Retweet button to a small percentage of accounts.

 Retweeting is common practice already.  You see it on blogs and news sites across the Web.  Basically, a user reads an article and if a retweet button is available, they can click it and have an automatic tweet set up on their Twitter update.  Several third party startups like Tweetmeme and Retweet have created these retweet buttons you find across the Web.  These buttons are basically a shortcut and eliminate the need to have to create your own Tweet.  At the same time, they also track the amount of times the article has been retweeted, sort of giving the article a sense of importance.

The way Twitter plans to integrate the retweet feature is not as an actual button you add to your site, but instead on the Twitter site itself.   When a user comes across a tweet they may find interesting, they'll have an extra option on there to retweet it to their own followers.  Eliminating the need to actually copy and paste the tweet onto their own update box.  The 'retweet' button should appear next the 'reply' button according to the sketch from an earlier Twitter blog explaining the new function.  It will also show thumbnails of all the users who have retweeted the tweet.

Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter said in the blog post,

"Retweet is a button that makes forwarding a particularly interesting tweet to all your followers very easy. In turn, we hope interesting, newsworthy, or even just plain funny information will spread quickly through the network making its way efficiently to the people who want or need to know.

The plan is to see how it goes first with this small release. If it needs more work, then we'll know right away. If things look good, we'll proceed with releasing the feature in stages eventually arriving at 100%."


Image source of actual SarahSilverman post from TechCrunch


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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.

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