The Internet caught some feels
Chances are if you’ve been on the Internet in the past month, you’ve seen people discussing the changes Twitter recently introduced. In case you missed it, Twitter has removed share counts. Twitter took to their blog in October to announce their plans to update the look of their buttons, and propose the removal of the share counter. Ever since, people have been venting their frustrations.
Share counter did not take into account social reach
While I can certainly understand why someone people are upset, I’d also like to propose that we think about this a little bit deeper. Share counts on articles, product pages, and almost everything else online, act as a gauge of the quality of your content, or at least it used to. The counter told other readers how many people had taken the time to share your information, or how “good” it was. What the Twitter counter couldn’t do, however, is tell the number of retweets, replies, or favorites.
It also incapable of telling you the social reach of the people tweeting your information. Why does this matter? These shares can have a positive, or negative, impact on your site. If the share counter isn’t an accurate account of people’s interaction with your site, it could be inadvertently hurting your site.
Not reflective of performance
This is why I think the removal of the share counter isn’t so detrimental. The share counter is outdated. It’s not reflective of performance, so its relevance is a bit questionable. It is also important to note, that most other social networking sharing buttons do not include counts either. Twitter’s proposed solution for accessing this data, if you want it, is a rather pricey platform they recently acquired called Gnip.
For those unwilling to pay the high prices of Gnip, it leaves publishers and marketers trying to adapt without the information they’ve become accustomed to, or perhaps other social media platforms will follow in Twitter’s footsteps and remove this data as well. Afterall, more people are going mobile and mobile devices mean less room for information like share counts.
Quality over quantity
One final reason why I don’t feel like the end of Twitter’s share counter signifies the end of the world is it will level the playing field in the blogging world. Small businesses that were previously vying for every single share will no longer be competing in this way. Instead, maybe our minds will focus on the content rather than the counter.
For now, if you’re missing that shared information, your best bet is Twitter’s REST API search endpoint. This will help you gather information about a URL shared on Twitter.