ReTweets as a metric is ridiculous and pointless

It doesn’t matter where you go on the Web because just about every blog out there has a ReTweet button somewhere in a post. Just as with Facebook’s Like button the ReTweet buttons are an easy way to share post you like not just with your friends but the Web as a whole.

As well things like ReTweets have become a way of measuring popularity and as some would have you believe – influence. Whether it be services like Tweetmeme that keep track of how many time a post has been retweeted and therefore indicate popularity or services like Klout which use those retweet counts in their algorithms to figure out a persons influence.

Well this might be the intent of them but in practice the whole retweets things as any kind of metric is nothing but a joke. If they are meant as a way to indicate news or opinion posts that are worth taking the time to read then they are failing big time.

A good example of how the ReTweet system is being made a joke can bee seen in the image at the top of this post. See that ReTweet number … ya .. the one that says 2322. That is the number of retweets for a post on Mashable. A post of 120 words that basically said nothing more than what had been said on about 20 or 30 blogs before it. In fact here is the post in its entirety:

If you use several Google accounts on a daily basis, you probably want to be logged into all of them at the same time, but to achieve that, you have to use several different browsers.Now, according to Google Operating System, Google is testing a feature that will let users be logged into multiple Google accounts in the same web browser. Personally, I have at least four different Gmail accounts opened at all times, and this feature is very high on my wish list.

Judging from the screenshot below, Google services that are currently supported are Gmail, Reader, Sites, Calendar, Code and Docs. There is also one limitation: if you turn on multiple sign-in, you cannot use Gmail’s offline mode.

Now can anyone please tell me just how in the world that this 120 word puff post is worth that kind of ReTweet attention. Even more ridiculous is that this post got more retweets than another – and much better – post written by the same author on the same blog.

It’s not that the Google news was all that hot, important or even interesting but yet it does better than a post about the Old Spice ads that only got 1979 retweets. Of course these insane retweet numbers for what is really nothing more than filler post isn’t just centered around Mashable but you can see the same thing happening at just about all the really big name tech blog.

In Mashable’s case though if you look back through their archives is the leader of this kind of stupid retweeting numbers. I have seen cases where they have gotten in excess of 3,000 retweets for what are puff type posts.

You have to give them credit though. They have found a way to use the retweet to their advantage as they climb up to the number one position for tech blogs. However if the principal behind retweets is to bring quality news and information to the surface one has to really wonder if anyone out there is really reading what they are retweeting.

It has become nothing more than a game. A game to get as many retweets as possible regardless of the quality and the moment any possible metric becomes a game it becomes totally useless as a metric.

Such is the case with ReTweets.