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So, You Want A Re-Tweet Button On Twitter.com?

Twitter.com commands just an estimated 32 per cent of all Twitter activity, which is incredibly low when you think about. Imagine if Facebook boasted that kind of share for their 200-million strong audience; people would be talking. And with complete justification.

(This low number also, incidentally, explains in part the recent hype – and reaction – to Twitter’s 60% drop-off rate amongst new users, as Nielsen, who took the measurements, only accounted for Twitter.com, and not all the external clients, which make up the bulk of all interactions with the service, certainly from seasoned members.)

There’s a good reason why – Twitter.com is an entirely limiting way to interact with the Twitter stream. That statement, true as it is, is pretty insane for any website, let alone a social media platform. Somehow, Twitter gets away with it; at least, for now.

Even the most basic functionality from the site is missing. I’ve discussed recently on this blog the importance of the re-tweet, an event that takes place millions of times a day within the Twitter stream. So frequently, in fact, that’s it’s an accepted part of the experience, but Twitter.com, despite many upgrades, hasn’t considered it significant enough to provide us with a re-tweet button. Has the world gone mad?

Perhaps, but there is a solution. In fact, there are three.

Why Do We Need A Re-Tweet Button?

If you’re unsure of the significant of the re-tweet, please read my article, “In Defense Of The Re-Tweet.

Okay, like me, you might predominately use TweetDeck or a different Twitter client for all your networking. That’s great, even admirable. But think of everybody else. Lots of folk have to use Twitter.com – maybe they’re restricted at work, or their computer isn’t powerful enough to run an external client.

You may not ever use Twitter.com, and therefore have no need for a re-tweet button on the home page – if this is the case, you can still play your part in making it a reality for everybody else. Please scroll down to the third part of this tutorial, and add your signature to the online petition.

Before We Begin

It is important to note that the first two configurations in this tutorial will only work on the Firefox browser. If you don’t use Firefox, it’s a very worthwhile download. This is certainly true if you are using Internet Explorer; less so if you’re a fan of Google Chrome or Apple’s Safari, where the benefits are less considerable.

The Firefox community provide a wealth of add-ons and tweaks for the software that provide the user with enormous functionality. One of the most popular plugins is Greasemonkey, a software tweak that allows users to install scripts that make immediate changes to most web pages. To use the first two scripts on this page, you will need to be running Firefox and have installed the Greasemonkey plugin. Without both of these things, the changes recommended here will not work – not on Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, Opera or anything else. Firefox and Greasemoney are a prerequisite to installation.

Fear not; if Firefox is not for you, or this all seems a bit too much like witchcraft, roll down to section three of this tutorial, where your insistence on an official re-tweet button on Twitter.com can be registered by the medium of vote.

1. So You Want A Re-Tweet Button… And Everything Else?

ReadWriteWeb recently did a write-up on the impressive (albeit underwhelmingly-named) Troy’s Twitter Script which adds a huge range of features to your Twitter.com homepage.

Troy's Twitter Script

Described as ‘crazy awesome’ by the good folks at RWW, Troy’s script does, indeed, do pretty much everything you could ever want. And more. You get your re-tweet button, but you also get name and URL expansion, a search box, media previews, autocomplete, embedded video, friend icons, groups, maps, timezones, and more. Rumour has it the next version will even make great fries.

In fact, it does so much, that it might just be a little bit overwhelming for the not overly-technical minded, or those who are blasé about the extras.

If you want Twitter.com to do everything you could possibly want, or if you like the functionality of TweetDeck and other clients but are limited to Twitter.com at work (but are allowed to use Firefox and Greasemonkey), Troy’s script is something you should definitely install.

If, however, it seems like a little too much, let’s move on to option two.

(Image courtesy of ReadWriteWeb.com.)

2. So You Just Want A Re-Tweet Button?

You came here because you wanted a re-tweet button, and by Jove, that’s what I’m going to give you. The Twitter Retweet Button is a simple yet effective way to add the RT option to the Twitter.com homepage.

The Retweet Script

Isn’t that wonderfully easy? One button, one-click re-tweet, and better, it stops you ‘accidentally’ re-tweeting yourself, which keeps everybody happy.

I’ve tested both of this scripts and they do exactly what they say on the tin – install them without fear or trepidation.

3. So You Want A Proper Button On Twitter.com?

So does (almost) everybody else. It’s a ridiculous oversight by Twitter. With a proper re-tweet button (that came with tutorials) Biz and the gang could have ‘proper’ re-tweets that could be collated, analysed and ranked by popularity, trends, users, and so on. This would be a wondrous addition to the service, and I’d be very surprised if it isn’t a reality by year-end.

Indeed, it could happen even sooner – if you play your part. Head on over to Retweet.com and add your Twitter username to the petition. The site aims to collect 500,000 signatures to show Twitter.com that lots of folk want – nay, demand – this feature.

Retweet.com

I’ve already signed up, alongside a couple of thousand other folks – you should too.

And if you have a multitude of sock puppets, bots and spam accounts in your Twitter arsenal, get them to add their respective John Hancock’s too.

Conclusion

The humble re-tweet is a core component of the Twitter experience. Sure, it’s got its detractors right now, and it would be nice if Twitter would recognise it officially and make it trackable. But until that happens, the Firefox users amongst you can install your own re-tweet button (and more) with ease.

All of us, meantime – even you – can step up, be counted, and get that petition signed.

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