Twitter experiments with a ‘retweet with comment’ function

25 Jun 2014

Twitter is trialling a new retweet function that allows users to add comments to retweets without losing any of the precious 140-character real estate of a typical tweet.

At present, when users retweet with a comment they can only do so before or after the original message which appears in the same tweet within quotes.

Twitter is experimenting with a new feature that will give users more room to retweet with a comment by converting the original tweet into a Twitter Card.

Twitter introduced Twitter Cards last year to allow users to display richer media, such as photos, videos and vines, in tweets.

The feature, first spotted by Mashable, is being trialled by a select few and appears to be mobile only at present, being tested on both Android and iOS devices.

Some experiments at Twitter may never see the light of day

retweet with comment

For its part, Twitter said new features are being tested all the time and experiments occur with features that may never be released to everyone who uses the service.

“Those experiments are perhaps even more valuable because they help us decide what not to do –– which is important as we work to keep Twitter simple while improving the user experience. Ultimately, our goal is to learn and keep making the product better; we aren’t necessarily looking to launch all of the experiments we roll out,” Twitter said in a blog post from last year.

“In recent months, that trend has picked up –– so much so that it’s rare for a day to go by when we’re not releasing at least one experiment. We’re able to run tests more frequently because we’ve built a more robust experimentation framework, which we use to run tests not only on the web, but also in our mobile apps: Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android.

“With the majority of our users accessing Twitter from a mobile device, it’s important for us to be able to test on mobile. Over time, you’ll continue to see us test and introduce new features first on mobile. For example, we recently introduced the people button, which suggests accounts for you to follow.”

Twitter bird image via Shutterstock

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years