Shared Media, Twitter
Published By:
634

Where’d the numbers go?

Legions of bloggers and website publishers logged on November 21 to discover that the familiar digits displaying the number of Twitter shares on their content had disappeared.

Imagine if you woke up tomorrow and all the street numbers had been washed away. For bloggers, that’s not an overly dramatic comparison, as the Twitter share count has been used as talisman of “social proof” since Twitter became de rigueur as a content sharing platform and sites started baking sharing icons into their pages. Now, POOF, it’s gone.

Why Would Twitter Do This?

Why would they unilaterally remove a beloved (and theoretically useful) feature, when other social platforms – including their nemesis, Facebook – continue to provide share counts in their API, and thus in their icons? What’s the upside?

The outward absurdity of this move has been commented upon by many in the social media sphere, perhaps best epitomized by my friend and collaborator Mark Schaefer, who groused incredulously (on Facebook, perhaps ironically):

“This is a really dumb decision on their part because sometimes a business decision cannot be made because of ROI. It has to be made based on RELEVANCE.

Twitter is overlooking the fact that they are going to look stupid when Facebook and LinkedIn have working buttons on every piece of content in the world and they don’t. It is one in a long line of examples where the Silicon Valley stars favor engineering decisions instead of marketing decisions and it is getting really tiresome.”

I understand the frustration. It’s annoying for anyone that runs a blog, including the team here at Convince & Convert. In a blog post they were forced to write after the social media community grabbed pitchforks after the initial announcement was made without explanation, Twitter said they were killing the Twitter share button counts because of a core change to their development framework, and corresponding API schemas. And further, that the share counts aren’t that accurate anyway.

I’m sure this is true.

Kinda.

Twitter is struggling to find a workable business model. Even cursory glances at their stock price, layoffs and boardroom dramas show this to be the case. To date, one of their big ideas seems to be “do whatever Facebook does” and I’ve written extensively on the folly of this “monkey see, monkey do” approach to product development.

This Does Not Feel Like the Very First Time

Twitter’s other business strategy seems to be centered on turning the company into a big data analytics powerhouse with a consumer sentiment overlay. The Nielsen for a new age, if Nielsen were real-time and had unfathomable depths of information about individual’s reactions to topics ranging from terrorism to Kardashians.

Here’s the thing. Having access to unprecedented data has no net present value. You have to convince people to actually pay for that data and/or convince people to pay you to do something for them based on the strength of that data.

And that’s their play here. Twitter wants to own all the data (not just share counts) because once they do, they can compel you to either pay them for the data, or restrict the availability of that data to their own platform.

The death of the Twitter share button counts are reminiscent of the company’s move earlier this year to eliminate all firehose partners except for Gnip, which is now owned by Twitter. Firehose partners have full-scale access to all Twitter data, and historically resold it to developers who baked it into the social media tools you know and love.

Read Steven Willmot’s coverage of that move here, and you’ll start to see this pattern emerging. If they own all the data, every developer and enterprise company that wants full-scale access now has to buy it from Twitter directly.

How This Pays Off for Twitter

I don’t think Twitter can convince bloggers to pay for sharing data directly. But what if Twitter announces – and I’m telling you right now to expect this – that sharing counts are only available on the Twitter Analytics dashboard? In truth, the data available there is already pretty sweet, and if Twitter put sharing data exclusively in that dashboard, what will happen? A LOT MORE people will log on to that dashboard, slavishly scanning the numbers for their daily dose of social proof.

How does that scenario help Twitter? Well, guess what else is featured on the analytics dashboard? If you guessed “Twitter ad options” you win! If you’re reading this article, you are in the top one percent of experienced social media and digital marketing practitioners in the world. Yet, do you really understand Twitter’s ad options? I barely understand it, and I’ve bought a bunch of ads from Twitter, and am messing around in there all the time.

Now imagine Twitter has the ability to educate you and promote those ad options to you every time you log in to see the share count data they stripped away.

Ta-da.

(Here’s the video version of my take on this, also ironically created on Facebook.)

This article originally appeared on Convince & Convert.

revcontent-98%-of-sites-get-denied-are-you-in-the-2%

revcontent-98%-of-sites-get-denied-are-you-in-the-2%

Sponsored Resources

Want more resources

View all Resources




Most Read

Contributors

Our publication contributors combine decades of experience with unique insights into the content promotion and distribution industry.
Chad Pollitt Partner, VP of Audience Native Advertising Institute
Jay Baer Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Author
Gini Dietrich CEO Arment Dietrich
Jason Falls Social Media & Public Relations Thought Leader
Joe Beccalori CEO Interact Marketing
Douglas Karr Founder & CEO MarTech.zone & DK New Media
Brianne Carlon Rush Content Director Kuno Creative
Janine Popick Co-founder & CMO Dasheroo
Arnie Kuenn CEO Vertical Measures
Pam Didner Global Content Marketing Strategist & Author
Chirag Ahuja Head of Marketing WorkflowMax
Jayson DeMers Founder & CEO AudienceBloom
Erik Deckers Professional Writer Pro Blog Service
Bernie Borges CEO Find and Convert
Jessica Stephenson VP Marketing ExactHire
Michael Ferrari Marketing Consultant Pen Cap Online Marketing
Larry Alton Freelance Writer and Editor
David Tile Founder & Director Nimble Media
Kelsey Libert Marketing VP & Partner Frac.tl
Dan Steiner Co-Founder & CEO Elite Legal Marketing
Joydeep Bhattacharya Relevance Contributor SEOsandwitch.com
Jonah Bliss Founder CMO ContentIntent
Andrea Lehr Promotions Supervisor Fractl
Fernando Labastida Co-Founder Content Propulsion
Dan Moyle Creative Dir. Marketing AmeriFirst
Dennis Yu Chief Technology Officer BlitzMetrics
Arnaud Roy VP Marketing Augure
John Rugh Copywriter/Content Marketing Specialist
Justin Spicer Content Researcher, Producer & Editor
Michael Becker Marketing Support Spec. Teradata
Anna Johansson Freelance Writer
Amanda DiSilvestro Content Editor and Writer HigherVisibility
Sujay Maheshwari Founder & CEO Netcurate.com
Kelly Coulter Online Marketing Strategist
Taylor Radey Senior Consultant PR 20/20
Rodger Johnson Public Relations Leader & Consultant
Simon Penson Founder & Managing Dir. Zazzle Media
Danielle Wolter Nolan Co-Owner
Fernando Cuscuela Founder & CEO Everypost
Kelly Smith Content Manager CourseFinder
John McTigue EVP Kuno Creative
Yogita Arora Content Strategist Zoomph
Jordan Teicher Associate Editor Contently
Jonathan Crowl Digital Marketing Writer & Editor
Brian Honigman Marketing Consultant, Writer & Professional Speaker Skyword
Katherine Halek Content Strategist Signazon.com
Amanda Drinker Dooley Community Product Marketing Manager Netline
Anton Rius Digital Marketing Consultant More Than Metrics
Matthew Zajechowski Outreach Manager Digital Third Coast
Kevin Bailey Co-founder DigitalRelevance
Peter Chen Digital Marketing Consultant DigitalRelevance
Luana Spinetti Multi-Specialized Freelancer
Kyle Harper Writer Skyword
Elad Natanson Founder appnext
Maël Roth Content & Inbound Marketer Park7
Quin Woodward Pu Marketing Director Audienti
Greg Shuey Co-Founder Stryde
Jean Bansemer CEO My Web Writers
Owen Andrew Journalist
Luke Kintigh Global Content & Media Strategist Intel

In case you missed

Read more of the latest news and insights from thought leaders in content promotion and distribution.

Subscribe


Get the latest content promotion news and insights everyday.

Champion Sponsor

Relevance is proud to present our Champion Sponsor that helps make our site possible.

Cision Logo

© 2017 Relevance | Content Promotion News & Insights

Connect with RELEVANCE

Thank you for subscribing Your subscription has been confirmed.