While I don’t think the retweet is some sort of smoking gun for what’s wrong with social media, I do think there’s a strong argument for discussing how to build more friction–and more context–into actions we can take on social media platforms. I’m not sure what form that takes, but I do think that push-button reactions don’t communicate much except as analytics data.

It’s why I’ve expressed fondness for things like Medium’s use of highlights as a way to “like” or “react” to something in a way that actually informs both the writer and other readers about just what it was about someone else’s words that struck you, without yourself having to write something. A kind of middle-ground between retweeting and commenting, that actually provides some sort of useful information about one’s thoughts.

There’s also something to be said for a web where comments don’t exist natively, per se, but via something like webmentions requires a commenter to be publicly responding on their own site and linking to the original post. Rather than invading, even at implicit invitation, someone else’s space, you’re responding in your own space, and the original author can consider your response of value or not.

I guess in a sense that’s an argument for “ownership as friction”. If we had to comment by posting something to our own sites, would we treat the discussion differently?

ETA: One could argue that in a sense retweets and even likes aren’t social media but asocial media because they provide no real information or context. They aren’t an interaction but merely an indication.

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Hello. My name is Bix. @bix