Why Twitter Needs to Keep Their Share Counts
Oh Twitter, how I love thee – let me count the ways…or on second thought, let me rethink that.
In the past week Twitter has announced that their share counts will no longer appear with Tweet buttons AND third-party direct access to tweet share stats will be curtailed.
This is a HUGE mistake.
Warfare Plugins wrote a brilliant article about this issue expressing their opinion on the matter and why Twitter should change its mind. They brought up three situations/consequences we’ll face –
If you’re a blogger, your Tweet button won’t show visitors how many times your latest post (or any post) has been shared – Could lead to fewer shares and less interaction?
If you’re an online pro who gets paid big bucks for helping promote brands, you’ll lose a primary way of showing advertisers how popular you are with the online masses – Social Proof. That could put a dent in your bank account
If you’re a third-party app developer, you may be in deep waters – without access to Tweet share counts, your app may lose a critical part of its functionality, and you may lose subscribers
The one that really resonates with me is social proof. Social proof is big y’all. How many times do you look to see how many times an article has been shared before you share it or reference it? We all place value in how many times a piece of content has been shared – I know I do. I’m more likely to reference/share something that’s been shared several hundred times already over a piece (of the same age) that has less than 50.
Social proof is used in validating not only content but people. Influencers are measured on their social proof (even though I in principle disagree with some of that). If Twitter takes that component out of the equation, what are we to base it on? Facebook and who has the most money to spend to get their content seen? Small businesses cannot do that.
Here are two effects they mention that we may see if this indeed happens –
Access to “vanity metrics” will be sharply reduced – other social media platforms may follow suit and cut off easy access to their analytics data
Many social media third-party app developers will be hit hard – some may shut down entirely for lack of affordable access to information
I would really hate to see great companies fall away or eliminate Twitter access because of this. That would make the lives of us social media strategists/managers/marketers a lot more chaotic.
Warfare polled 15 “social media power influencers” (I do not agree with who is on their list and do not consider a few of them influencers in any way) and there were six reasons that came out as to why Twitter may be doing this –
Twitter wants to generate more revenue!
Twitter wants to cut expenses by no longer playing (free) host to share count queries.
Twitter hates that Facebook share counts generally make Twitter share counts seem paltry. Removing share counts may prompt other social platforms to do the same.
Twitter knows the future of computing is predominantly mobile and wearable devices – where there’s not much room for share count displays
The move makes no business sense whatsoever. Twitter is “throwing away dollars to make pennies.”
Twitter wants to force users to login to Twitter.com, rather than use third-party apps as the primary access point. That will give Twitter more marketing capability. They can sell more ads and get more commissions.
I personally think numbers 1 and 6 are on the spot. It’s all about the money. Facebook went public and now 2 or so years ago and now you have to pay to get your content seen. Twitter went public not too long ago and… well, you can see the picture or what the picture will be. When you go public you have shareholders to answer to – not the people actually using your product. Bottom line – make money. I believe this is a driver in making this move. It also goes along with number 6 – if you log into Twitter.com you will see the ads, you will have to use them as your primary access point. Not Hootsuite or Buffer or Sprout Social anymore, but Twitter. And with more eyeballs on Twitter, the more ads they can sell and the more money they can make.
This, in my opinion, truly comes down to a business decision to be able to generate more revenue. They (Twitter) don’t care about social proof or validation. They don’t care about moving content and making it ignite. They quite frankly don’t care about us users and what we want. They care about money, just like Facebook did. I LOVE Twitter – it’s my favorite platform by far and I don’t want to see it develop into the love/hate relationship I have with Facebook.
If you are with me, join the hashtag #saveoursharecounts.
What are your initial thoughts about this?