The social media platform that has come to pride itself on empowering individuals to make themselves heard is working on an experiment that would allow individuals to see how many people are hearing them.
Experiment is what Twitter calls its projects under construction or consideration, and according to a recent post at Search Engine Journal by Matt Southern, Twitter is toying with a feature that would allow for individual users to see and monitor in real time how many people viewed each tweet they sent. Until now, the function has only been available to advertisers, who pay for the analytics.
Should the experiment be rolled out, it would mark the first time Twitter would make such data widely available. The impact could be significant; the analysis, which would appear at the bottom of the tweet, would serve for all Twitter users as an instant measure of the reach of their tweets.
Although by Southern’s account the advent of Twitter’s analytics tool for everyman is far from certain, news of the very possibility alone has wrought a debate, the basis of which is “be careful what you ask for.” Southern writes that proponents believe that the instant gratification of seeing of a views count would encourage more Twitter use, and add Twitter users. Meanwhile, the unconvinced believe that the tool would discourage Twitter use if users with many followers actually see that only a few people are looking at their Tweets.
Twitter remains noncommittal regarding a possible rollout. Southern quoted from Twitter’s website, “We also experiment with features that may never be released to everyone who uses Twitter. Those experiments are perhaps even more valuable because they help us decide what not to do.”
Southern, Matt. “Twitter Experimenting with New Feature to Show How Many People View Your Tweets“; Search Engine Journal. March 25, 2014.