Well here is my little dime on the subject. As you all must have noticed, Twitter adopted the RT trend. This actually originally started as a need of the community to share tweets that they like without removing the attribute from the original poster, instead referring to him.
All the programs that actually supported it, what they did was pretty simple. They copy the original tweet adding the “@” reference in the beginning and maybe an RT at the very start (or “Retweet” for a couple of programs). This had it’s drawback. First of all it’s duplication of content. So if, for instance, one 160 character tweet get’s retweeted 50 times (which is a fair amount for a viral tweet) then the storage required for the same piece of information is 5 times higher. Now, you noticed that i said “piece of information” and not tweet. I did that because the tweet might vary a bit with abbreviations that the RTer might have introduced in order to make it shorter. So it’s the same info but in various formats and taking much larger space.
One more problem that a user faces is most of the times having to shrink the original tweet in order to be able to retweet. If you think of it, out of the 160 characters 2 are for the RT and then an average of 5-15 are needed for the original poster. Things are worst if you need to RT another RT… That is a problem i have faced a lot and found it inconvenient.
You can imagine how happy i was to see the feature actually implemented by Twitter. This method requires no extra characters and it takes no more space than the original tweet. It’s like a link. I only have one problem with this method. If i want to comment on a tweet i want to retweet, for instance “LOL this is so funny“, i can’t do it. I know it’s kinda hard to keep everybody happy plus implementing something like that would inherit the problems of the originally used RT but if Twitter was to think of a solution that would be great (maybe threaded tweets or something).
One last thought i’d like to share is with the vendors of the popular desktop applications. I think that they should change the retweet way to the new one instead of the original copy-paste. To be honest, i don’t know if the API supports it yet but this is one thing i’d like to see on a desktop twitter application.