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Enough, We Get It: Retweets Aren't Endorsements

Here and now, let's all agree that we agree. Then let's stop saying this to each other.

Hyper-addictive microblogging site Twitter will turn six this year. Not even a decade old, and already it boasts more than 300 million users, a reputation for aiding revolutions, and the ability to ruin powerful people's reputations in 140 characters or less. Though Twitter executives seem to still struggle with the question of how they're going to actually monetize their company, Twitter doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Presuming we'll be dealing with it for at least the next decade, let's get at least one thing straight: We get it, your retweet is not an endorsement.

Mostly functioning adults tend to find it miserable to be talked down to. Just as it's gotten wearisome to take airplane flights and have to sit through instructions on how to buckle your seatbelt, or be told for the millionth time that you can't smoke on the aircraft, it's become downright tedious to click through to someone's Twitter profile and read, "Retweets are not endorsements." If it were just one or two people with the warning, or if Twitter were some kind of newfangled technology, it might make sense. But Twitter's been around for more than five years now, and seemingly thousands of people—perhaps even millions—find it necessary to tell everyone on Twitter what we already know: retweets aren't endorsements.

If we all seem to agree on this point, why are many of us still constantly reinforcing it? For instance, it's probably illegal for several reasons for a person to stand atop a police car and urinate onto its windshield. Do we need a sign telling us that? Do we need signs everywhere in society telling us every basic thing we can and can't do?

Rather than eroding the comity of Twitter by assuming that others are too ignorant to understand what is at this point a very foundational rule of the network, let's assume people are smarter than that. And in the event that someone doesn't understand, let's agree to explain to that person, without codifying it in our bios, that here on Twitter, retweets aren't endorsements. Sometimes it's better when unwritten rules remain unwritten.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user trekkyandy

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