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To RT or not to RT: Authorship and attribution on Twitter

Draucker, Fawn and Collister, Lauren Brittany (2012) To RT or not to RT: Authorship and attribution on Twitter. In: InfoSocial, 12 October 2012 - 13 October 2012, Evanston, IL. (Unpublished)

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In 2009, Twitter changed its interface to include a “retweet” function to accommodate a user-created convention for rebroadcasting text written by others. However, while the new retweet function did not allow for the range of use of the original user-created retweet. As a result, currently there exist two forms of retweeting: Twitter’s new retweet function and the older, user-generated retweet. Users deploy both of these forms to indicate different alignments to their talk. As Hill and Zepeda (1992) show in their work on vernacular narrative, users have different strategies for displaying alignment or distance with their own talk. Furthermore, authorship and responsibility for talk is a concern for Twitter users. The two styles of retweeting are one way to resolve these concerns. Based on evidence from a corpus of tweets, we argue that the two retweet styles allow users to manipulate available participation structures to indicate their relationship to the retweeted text. The new retweet is limited in function by not allowing new content added by the retweeter; the old retweet is broader in its affordances in that the retweeter can add a comment. The new retweet assumes implicit alignment, while the old retweet allows more options for alignment. Twitter changed its interface based on interaction patterns, and this change resulted in the emergence of a new pattern incorporating both the new feature and the old convention. This evolution of interaction patterns is built on complex arrangements of participant structures, and reveals a dialogic relationship between users and their technology.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Draucker, Fawn
Collister, Lauren Brittanylbcollister@pitt.eduLBC80000-0001-5767-8486
Date: 12 October 2012
Date Type: Publication
Event Title: InfoSocial
Event Dates: 12 October 2012 - 13 October 2012
Event Type: Conference
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Refereed: No
Uncontrolled Keywords: Twitter, participation, Goffman
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2017 16:18
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2018 13:57


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