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The 'RT Taxonomy': Creating Different Flavors of Retweets

There is an old legend that, due to the fact that they spend most of their lives looking at snow, Eskimos have dozens of words for it. (It turns out this may not even be true but please just work with me here). By the same logic, it would make sense that in the year 2011, people who spend way too much time on Twitter should have more than one way to "retweet" something.

As most of you know, Twitter users retweet a post written by someone else by adding the letters "RT" as a prefix to that post and redistributing it to the world. Let's look at some recent retweets of mine, for example:

RT @TPM_dk GOPer who tweeted that women should be "a whore in the bedroom" apologizes "for any offense I may have caused"

I retweeted this not because I agreed, disagreed or endorsed the original tweet. In this instance I retweeted the tweet because I thought it was funny.  

Here is an example of something I retweeted because I thought it was interesting:

RT @dianabhenriques Today will be Bernie Madoff's 850th day in prison. 54,750 more to go. #Madoff #Ponzi

Here is one that I retweeted because I agreed with David Lat and wanted to express the same thought:

RT @DavidLat congratulates new WSJ Law Blog writer, @Joe_Palazzolo, & wishes @NathanKoppel & @JonesAshby good luck w/their new beats.

And finally, here is one that I retweeted out of vanity:

RT @@ECLegal @brucecarton Congrats! You made our list of the October 2011 Top 50 Lawyers to Follow on Twitter…

The point here is that people have numerous reasons for retweeting other people's posts, and these reasons may not be readily apparent from the underlying post and the letters "RT." To address this, Antonin Pribetic offered up the following "RT taxonomy" in a tweet last night:

RT+ (agree)
RT- (disagree)
RT= (indifferent)
RT? (confusing)
RT± (undecided)
RT☀ (interesting)
RT! (check this out!)

I like this idea a lot and it seems like something that could catch on. My only quibble with Pribetic's taxonomy is that I have no idea how to create the sun or fried egg or whatever that "interesting" symbol is, but I assume the rest of you do. 

In a post today on the Slaw blog, Dan Pinnington ran with Pribetic's taxonomy, and added a few of his own, such as :

RT~ (original tweet was edited)
RT:) (a happy tweet)
RT:( (a sad tweet)

To this running list I would add a few more:

RT;) (sarcasm)
RT:o (unbelievable)
RTv (vanity/self-promotion)

Do you like the idea of having these different flavors of retweets? If so, what else belongs on this list? 

Posted by Bruce Carton on November 11, 2011 at 12:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)


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