How should we treat the tweet?


In the last couple of days, @kk and @Dutchphoto have tweeted links to Olympic activism plans for Vancouver 2010. Responses from their peers have varied, but there seems to be three primary modes of reading the performative act of tweeting. It’s either tweeted treated as advocacy ie. I’ve heard about something and, since I support it, I’m going to share it. Alternatively, it can be seen as a news service to something others may not find easily ie. I’ve heard about something you might not learn about through your own media sources, so I’m going to send it to you all as I think you should be aware of it, regardless of your position. A third option may be the vanity tweet ie. I’ve heard about something and if I share it with you, you’ll think higher of me.

Now, I’m not saying that all tweets are like this. Of course, some tweets are to friends and function rather like instant messaging as a chat device. However, I wonder if all re-tweets might be characterized by these three categories. The challenge, of course, is that readers cannot know for sure which act is being undertaken. So, when we tweet, perhaps twitter need to permit users to categorize the tweet as one of the three (or more).

Discuss.