I've noticed a new trend on Twitter lately, one which bothers me a great deal. I'd like to share my thoughts about it now so that you all can help nip it in the bud.
People have been 'retweet'ing pretty much since Twitter's inception; that is, they post something on their stream that they saw someone else post. The defacto standard format for doing this is to say 'rewteet' (or, more commonly, 'RT') followed by the username of the person who originated the message, then followed by the message. Like this:
RT @TeddTheodorLogan Remember the time I asked Missy to the prom?
Lately, however, people have been trying to popularize a new format for retweeting -- one which has been largely employed in the blogging world. This new method is to just post the message, followed by (via username). Like this:
The only thing I know for sure is that Joan of Arc is NOT Noah's wife...(via BillSPrestonEsq)
The problem with this is two-fold: firstly, it takes up more characters. More importantly, it's misusing the word 'via.'
See, what "(via so-and-so)" actually means, is "I heard about this content by way of so-and-so," and has been used for years to denote that the link I'm blogging about came to my attention because someone else blogged about it, and is designed to sort of give the person who found the content the credit. This is only used when you're linking to a story that's written by someone other than the person you heard about it from -- to give sort of 'scoop' credit to someone who found it before you did.
When you retweet, in almost every case, you are simply quoting the person who said something. You didn't hear it 'via' them. Your readers are hearing it 'via' YOU. (Granted, if you are retweeting a retweet, then 'via' could be properly used -- but you'd have to say it's 'via' the person who originally REtweeted it, rather than the person who tweeted it -- which is of no information to the reader.)
If you really don't like the 'RT username: message' format -- and for this I don't blame you; it's clumsy and non-intuitive -- I suggest you do it the same way people have been attributing quotes since the dawn of written language. Like this:
"Four score and seven BEERS ago..." -abrahamlincoln
With your help, perhaps this gross misunderstanding of the Latin language can be wiped from the face of twitter.
The author lives in Vancouver, Washington, USA with his girlfriend and a menagerie of cats, rats, fish, birds, guinea pigs and robots.
Among other inanities, he strives to use investigative techniques to work young starlet breasts into every aspect of rational discourse -- focusing on the discourse, thus making it not perverted. Also, has recently begun a career as "Internet hairstylist."
He can be contacted via email and Jabber IM at 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. He likes to be contacted.
(All press inquiries, however, ought be directed towards the author's agent, Alistair Hoel, via email to email@example.com.)