The re-tweet is an easy way to pretend you’re listening.

A lot of people love the re-tweet because they believe that it is a fast and effective way to tell both their followers on twitter as well as the person being retweeted that they are listening or that they thought this was a interesting point. This is true in a number of situations but this was not always the case. There was a time on twitter when people who liked what you linked to would comment on the topic and converstions would grow. It would take time, and involvment, and it would create noise, but it did provide one thing. Indications of friendship.

You see friendship on twitter is a feature that you see less and less on twitter as the emphasis is on following, rather than conversing with people. Many of those I used t follow now follow thousands of people as a result of which they lose track of what they sad to who. Answering every tweet takes a lot of time, and time is a commodity people are rarely willing to give to others. I wasn’t willing to watch five minute videos on seesmic because I felt there were more effective ways of conversing. People feel the same way about conversation on twitter. They’ve given up on it and this is a shame.

Twitter is all about the short form. The more short messages you send the more people will know about your likes and dislikes. If you retweet the short form loses some of that value. You are more succinct about why one point is more interesting than another by discussing the topic with the person. Every message contributes to the grand picture.

If you want to show that you like a tweet, or like a link, don’t retweet it. Go to friendfeed and mark it as liked, share it. Write a little comment at the bottom. This provides so much more information to those that decided that what you have to say is of interest. No single network can do everything, so experiment and see which is best for which purpose. Your experience will be enriched by such a process.

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