Twitter Announces Retweet API

Andres Ferrate, August 13th, 2009

TwitterPopular micro-blogging platform Twitter has announced “Project Retweet”, which will soon add a new “retweet” feature to the core service and will have a new retweet API giving developers to access retweets in a variety of ways. As many of you know, the Twitter API (our Twitter API Profile) has quickly become one of the most popular APIs in our API Directory.

Twitter’s Marcel Molina made the announcement in the Twitter API Google Group. According to Marcel:

Retweeting has become one of the cultural conventions of the Twitter
experience. It’s yet another example of Twitter’s users discovering
innovative ways to use the service. We dig it. So soon it’s going to
become a natively supported feature on twitter.com. It’s looking like
we’re only weeks away from being ready to launch it on our end. We
wanted to show the community of platform developers the API we’ve
cooked up for retweeting so those who want to support it in their
applications would have enough time to have it ready by launch day. We
were planning on exposing a way for developers to create a retweet,
recognize retweets in your timeline and display them distinctively
amongst other tweets. We’ve also got APIs for several retweet
timelines: retweets you’ve created, retweets the users you’re
following have created, and your tweets that have been retweeted by
others.

The API documentation is already available, although developers should note that making requests to the API will not work just yet as the feature has not been activated. Along with the API announcement, the Twitter team has made available a few draft mockups of how retweets might appear in a user’s timeline.

Retweets

Per the announcement, there are few things to note about retweets and the API:

1) It was important for us that retweets are easily differentiated visually from regular tweets. If someone you follow retweets a tweet, the original tweet will appear in your timeline whether you follow the author of the original tweet or not, just as it currently does when users use the “RT” convention. Seeing a tweet in your timeline from someone you don’t follow without being told it was shared from someone you *do* follow could be confusing. So we’re encouraging developers to be mindful of this confusion and make retweets stand out visually from regular tweets.

2) The retweeted tweet shows the username of the first of your followers to retweet it. If other’s subsequently retweet the same
tweet, the retweet should only appear once in a user’s timeline

This is some great news for users that have grown accustomed to retweeting as part of the overall microblogging experience, and the addition of the API is sure to make the new feature an integral part of applications and mashups that leverage the Twitter API. Check out Techmeme, CNet, TechCrunch, and Mashable for additional coverage of the news.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Twitter Announces Retweet API”

August 14th, 2009
at 8:01 pm
Comment by: “Project Retweet: Phase One” and related posts - KuASha Organization

[...] Twitter Announces Ret&#119&#101&#101t API - ProgrammableWeb [...]

August 28th, 2009
at 9:22 pm
Comment by: mike houdeshell

Wonder if the API will make it easy to see if a retweet is from a current non-follower? That’s useful information for a lot of people in social media, because it identifies someone who’s interested in your feed but not really in the fold yet.

September 30th, 2009
at 7:07 pm
Comment by: Twitter Adding Group Functionality As ‘Lists’

[...] with groups? Unlikely. Instead, Twitter is formalizing the practice, as it did with replies and the retweet API. Once the lists API is available and clients have adopted it, a group I create in TweetDeck could [...]

June 21st, 2011
at 7:26 am
Comment by: What Twitter’s t.co Means for Link Shortener APIs

[...] has seen a need in its platform currently being served and provided an official solution. It announced the retweet API last August and one could see Annotations as a replacement for hash tags. Of course, famously, [...]

Follow the PW team on Twitter

ProgrammableWeb
APIs, mashups and code. Because the world's your programmable oyster.

John Musser
Founder, ProgrammableWeb

Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.