Block Retweets in Twitterrific (and Twitter in general)

blockretweets.pngHere’s the thing: for the most part I really enjoy and get a lot of personal value out of Twitter. But besides the annoying (but easily ignored) infiltration of Twitter by the PR/marketing webcockerati the one thing that’s harder to ignore is the “retweet”.


Retweeting (or simply “RT”) is when someone reposts someone else’s tweet. It’s really that simple. And it drives me nuts, for a few reasons:

  1. Chances are if I was interested in the person being retweeted I probably follow them already, so the retweet just ends up being duplication and noise.
  2. If there’s something Big and Momentous going on (see: sporting events, political brouhahas, Apple announcements, etc.), many people often retweet the same tweet, which is like #1 but even more annoying.
  3. Many retweets often consist of links to “cool stuff”. For the most part I’m not really that interested as I already have enough sources for cool links (delicious, digg, my newsreader, Tumblr, etc.), and the value of Twitter for me is more in stalking staying in touch with friends than in any so-called “viral messaging”.

    I just gave myself gas typing those two words. The things I do for this web site.

  4. If you absolutely had to retweet something, common courtesy would be to link to that person’s tweet rather than regurgitate the text wholesale. The same courtesy already exists for weblogs, so why not microblogs like Twitter?

So, fuck ‘em. For those of you who use Twitterrific, here’s a little application that sets up retweet blocking.

Download the Block Retweets application (posted March 14, 2009, version 1.1)

(Looking for the source code? It’s available from the project page on Github.)

Instructions on how to use this and how it works are included, but don’t worry: this is completely safe and 100% reversible. Basically, download, decompress, run, click “Block”, and enjoy your retweet-free Twitterrific.

How do I block retweets on the Twitter web site?

For those of you using the Twitter web site with Firefox or Safari there’s still hope. With the Firefox Greasemonkey add-on or the GreaseKit plugin (which works in Safari, OmniWeb, Fluid, or any other WebKit-based browser) you can block retweets with “beejaminBoy’s” No Retweets userscript. I just installed it and it’s working for me, but I didn’t write this so your mileage may vary.

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