The New Retweet? I Could Live Without It

Just less than a month ago, Twitter rolled out a new feature for a select group — the retweet function. I was lucky enough (somehow) to be one of the chosen few to see how it worked and test it out.  My first thoughts were, Cool- now I don’t have to copy and paste tweets over again that I’d like to retweet and What took them so long? I’ve been using twhirl’s retweet function forever!

The new retweet tool is almost unnoticeable at first. If you scroll over a tweet, a retweet icon appears. When you click on it, a pop up appears asking if you’d like to “Retweet to Your Followers.” Once you click okay, you’re done. The tweet is retweeted and posted from your account. Great, right? Ehh, not so much. While easy, this new function leaves no room for you to edit/modify/add your two cents to the tweet.  At first attempt, I thought to myself, how often do I reallllllly modify a tweet when I retweet? I told myself that the new function was great and that after a few days of getting used to it I’d fall in love.

Well, it’s about 20 or so days later (I think I first noted the new function around Nov. 10), and I just don’t like this function. I really really really wanted to – don’t get me wrong – but it just doesn’t work for me. The main reason? I can’t get over not being able to edit the tweet. One thing I like about Twitter is the fact that even if you see the same news story posted 10 times by 10 different sources, you almost undoubtedly get a different take each time (different headline, new hashtag, etc.) which showcase the user’s personality. I don’t like seeing a sea of sameness on my Twitter feed (which can happen now with the new Retweet function when Mashable tweets something cool and 10 people I’m following retweet it).

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I wonder when Twitter will take notice and make changes?

Mystery Solved! The People Behind @FakeAPStylebook

While I love all things Twitter and most people on there (except for spammers and people who follow/unfollow repeatedly), every so often I come across a Twitter account that I can’t wait to share with others. @FakeAPStylebook is one such account.

fakeapstylebooktweetsAre you a PR person or journalist? Do you have the AP Stylebook sitting next to you on your desk at all times? Did you suffer through quizzes in college about the correct placement of commas? If so you HAVE to follow @FakeAPStylebook on Twitter (if you’re not one of the nearly 48,000 people who already are). The account provides “style guide tips” similar to the real AP Stylebook (@APStylebook on Twitter), but … well … with a twist. Besides throwing out random writing tips, the account also appropriately responds to users’ questions.

fakeapstylebookAfter coming across this account a few months ago, my coworker and I kept wondering WHO was at the keyboard creating these snarky tips? Was it an AP Stylebook writer who was fired? What it a PR person fed up with all the writing rules? Was it some guy in his parents’ basement (because we all know that when it comes to social media, it’s usually a guy living in his parents’ basement)? Well, the secret’s out: The main people behind @FakeAPStylebook are Ken Lowery, a Dallas copy editor, and Mark Hale, a friend of Lowery’s, based in Kentucky. But the account is more than just the two of them – it is maintained by a slew of contributors called “The Bureau Chiefs.” There are sixteen people, besides Hale and Lowery, based all throughout the United States (from NY to California), all who contribute to the account.

The account has been tremendously successful, growing exponentially in number of followers. The first day, they ended with 1,000 followers. The second day, Newsweek tweeted about the account which brought them hoards of new followers. By the end of the first week, they were at 9,000 and today have nearly 48,000 people reading their feed daily. As Hale brags, “We’ve officially passed the population of my small hometown, New Albany, Ind., according to the 2000 census figures.”

MediaShift has the whole story in its interview with the account’s creators, found here. The creators are also working on publishing a book, modeled after the real AP Stylebook. Again, another one of those, “Why didn’t I think of that?” ideas.