We normally let geek central (AKA dev team) worry about this sort of thing but this is a numbers game! So when we found out that the micro-blogging juggernaut known as Twitter had decided to remove the share count from their ‘API’ we got the shits. Twitter has seen its fair share of changes over the last few months. The social media service has seen a major overhaul of it’s design and usability, and knowing Twitter users, it has resulted in either lots of positive reinforcement or an endless barrage of complaints. Gone are the custom wallpapers, the ‘favourite’ button and the 140 character cap on direct messages. Perhaps the most interesting change is the retirement of the Twitter share counter. That’s right people, from now on you’re going to have to count your own Twitter shares.
Social media juggernaut Twitter has removed their share counters, and the interwebs is imploding in disbelief as a result.
You may have noticed the share button sitting to the side of your favourite articool (“cool article”). It’s the little bird fluttering below the Facebook icon, in fact you can see it there to the left of this article. The purpose of these buttons is simple, it’s there to allow readers to easily share media they find interesting to their own social networks. It’s this concept that Twitter was fundamentally based on when it was first launched in 2006. The short character limit appealed to the aggressively short attentions spans we have developed as content consumers and producers, meaning if you wanted your content to be viewed and shared, you needed to be as fast and relevant as possible.
Now after nine years, as of November 20 the social media company has removed the share counter. In a post made in late September, the decision to remove the share count buttons came from a design and comparability standpoint. The reactions to these changes have ranged from shock to groups rallying digital lynch mobs (because, internet).
I hate the fact that Twitter has now removed social share counts from Twitter buttons. I am thinking about removing the button from my blog.
— Michael Hyatt (@MichaelHyatt) November 21, 2015
To be honest Twitter has been in a bit of strife lately. Their Senior Engineering Director jumped ship to work with Uber (not as a driver). They’re facing a lawsuit following allegations of reading users’ private direct messages (is anything sacred on the internet?), not to mention that they’ve been supplanted as the number two social media platform by image sharing behemoth Instagram. Given that last development it makes sense that Twitter are looking to shake things up to entice new and old users.
Obviously this will make big waves for many who use the Twitter statistics to measure their growth and performance. Any business who relies on visible share counts on a page to attract advertisers will be in a bit strife. Not to mention third-party app developers may be facing serious functionality issues. There has been a new tool to measure shares and stats in the form of Twitter Counter, but the true ramifications of the removal of the share button remains to be seen so soon after the changes went into effect.
Sure the Twitter Counter is an interesting alternative for the social media savvy business owner, but from the point of view of the average punter it could easily shift their perspective on how popular the article is, and in turn, how worthy that piece of content is of their time. In an age where millions of pieces of content are being created and are fighting for our attention, the Twitter share icon going the way of the Dodo may indeed lead to the social media giant tumbling from their beanstalk, their golden goose snatched from underneath them.