In its April issue, a writer at The Atlantic makes the argument that “retweets are trash”. Whereas once if you wanted to repeat something someone else had said on the platform you would have had to create a whole new tweet and add a “RT” in front of it, the addition of the retweet button has made it so people will often share the thoughts of others without fully thinking through those statements. Now there’s a new tool to actually make that happen called Blindfold.
“Retweets don’t = endorsements” is written atop a number of profiles on the site, suggesting that just because that person decides to spread a person’s message it doesn’t mean they agree with it. Which begs the argument, why retweet it in the first place?
Retweets are definitely sometimes useful, but a quick search through my own timeline seems to support the Atlantic‘s argument. Most of them are amplifying someone’s garbage stance on a topic or spreading the same news headline that another 100 people I follow are also trying to spread. Maybe they should go.
The way Blindfold works is pretty simple. You just authorise it using your Twitter account. When you do, you’ll select between a Hide Retweets and Show Retweets button.
When you press the hide button, you will no longer see others’ retweets in your timeline. The service works on Twitter proper, so you can set it and forget it. There’s no need to reauthorise the app or go to any special site to see the streamlined version of your Twitter timeline.
The tool removes retweets, but only those shared using the retweet button. So, if someone you follow retweets a story but also includes their own commentary above it, then you’ll see that. It also only works for the web, so you’ll still see retweets when you pull out your smartphone.
I’ve been trying it out for a few days now, and it’s actually pretty… pleasant. I didn’t really how much noise had filled my timeline, and it’s really nice to streamline things and go back to only seeing tweets and commentary from the people I’ve chosen to follow.