Twitter isn’t supposed to be a popularity contest, but let’s be honest – many of us get a little thrill from new favorites and followers. It may be a good thing, then, that Twitter is experimenting with view counts on tweets. While Twitter’s ad partners have had access to this data for a while, the test lets regular social networkers see how much interest there is in what they say. The company isn’t commenting on the dry run, but we wouldn’t assume that a full-scale launch is coming.
How many people saw your last tweet? A new Twitter experiment is answering that question for some users, adding the number of views a tweet has received underneath every post. Twitter’s advertising products have long informed clients how many impressions their campaigns are receiving, but this test marks the first time that those statistics are available to everyday users. Like many experiments in Twitter’s continuous redesign, showing users what amount to pageviews is likely an effort to encourage people to tweet more. For users with a modest number of followers, tweeting can sometimes feel like shouting into a void. That’s why Twitter started letting you know when someone favorites something you retweeted, or a tweet you were mentioned in — those moves help to build a feedback loop that still doesn’t feel quite complete. A view count lets you know that even if you’re not receiving retweets or favorites, your posts aren’t going totally unread.