A quirky habit in the Twitter community is finally finding acceptance from the mothership.

Retweets, a way of sharing ideas or content already posted by another user on the microblogging site, will become natively supported by Twitter. The company’s also launching several application programming interfaces that will create retweets, display them in a distinctive way, and track them in a user’s account.

“Retweeting has become one of the cultural conventions of the Twitter experience,” wrote Marcel Molina, who is on the Twitter Platform team, on the developer discussion board. “It’s yet another example of Twitter’s users discovering innovative ways to use the service. We dig it.”

Supporting the practice officially would probably help the company and third-party clients collect more data on what people are sharing and how it is being distributed through the network. It is undoubtedly useful to any sort of search functionality that might take the popularity of a tweet into account.

Twitter will launch the feature in the next few weeks, said co-founder Biz Stone in a blog post. It will probably be released to a small group of people at first and then to everyone in a full launch, he said.

“Retweeting is a great example of Twitter teaching us what it wants to be,” Stone wrote. “Some of Twitter’s best features are emergent—people inventing simple but creative ways to share, discover, and communicate.”


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