Twitter is experimenting with showing tweet readership statistics to users, which can be part of an effort to encourage use and engagement.
Twitter is continuously redesigning its interface. As part of this effort, the microblogging service is experimenting with showing read statistics for each tweet. This functionality has actually been available to those with advertising accounts, which enable Twitter’s clients to gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns. However, enabling view counts for everyone else is perhaps a way for Twitter to encourage better-quality, or more frequent, tweets and increased engagement among users.
Earlier, Twitter had also started notifying users about re-tweets or mentions that have been favorited. A redesign also placed favorite, retweet and follow buttons more prominently on a user’s timeline. According to Twitter, this helped increase favorites and retweets by at least 35 percent. Showing view counts is considered to be a better feedback mechanism, however. This may be an effort to capitalize on the mainstream popularity of Tweets after the much-hyped Oscars 2014 selfie that had become the most-retweeted item to date.
Showing view statistics may be akin to read receipts that popular chat applications now feature. However, chat apps are mostly limited to one-to-one conversations or chats among a closed group. Twitter users — at least those with public accounts — expect their tweets to reach as wide an audience possible, and this new feature can help determine how many people the message actually gets to reach.
However, what may be more revealing is how the view statistic can tell whether the message is getting across at all, or if it just gets lost in the wave of tweets. If a tweet is receiving a wide enough viewership, but no one is responding or retweeting, then it means a tweet or an account may just not be that interesting.
The view count feature has not rolled out to all accounts at this time, and Twitter may still be experimenting with what makes an account eligible.