Twitter made a new change to its platform these days where share counts disappeared in its sharing buttons. Share counts feature shows the number of Tweets that have been Tweeted through the button on the web. Usually, it sits aside to share buttons on a web page and along with other sharing platforms like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn.
Publishers including The Huffington Post and Entertainment Weekly in addition to Slate have been surprised and frustrated by this new change. They insist that the number has both important functions to measure performance of the post as internal guide as well as attract more readers by showcasing its popularity. According to Slate’s vice chairman Dan Check, they want that count back because the count signals to readers that conversation is happening around their posts. Also, based on a recent experiment conducted by Nieman Lab, “ there was a big range (for The New York Times, it was 16 percent, while for The Guardian, it was close to 30 percent), but strongly ideological political sites like Red State and Daily Kos tended to generate a high share of tweets from those buttons”, which means the number of share counts is still influential to some extent.
Complaints flying around Twitter are not only about the counts move but also about Gnip, a social media API aggregation company providing data to publishers. Since small publishers that have no relationship with Twitter are not able to receive free data from data analytics company SimpleReach, Twitter guides them to buy service from Gnip whose price is ranging from $300 all the way up to $50,000 a month.
In the buzz, however, some publishers agree with Twitter’s standpoint that Tweet counts is not reliable and efficient for reference. New York magazine claims that they have evidence to defeat the opinion that share counts encourage more sharing. They are working on finding an alternate way to measure the content impact shared to Twitter.
- What impact do you think will this have to publishers? Will they lose readers and impact on social media because of the counts move from Twitter?
- How do you feel about the move? In your own experience, will you be attracted by content with a huge number of share counts?