Twitter is currently experimenting with a new feature that, like posts to Facebook groups, shows users just how many times their individual Tweets were seen by others. It's a move that, while useful, is sure to send some users – this author included – into a spiral of depression upon realising that, no, your friends might not really care that much about your 140-character insight.
According to reports from numerous Twitter users, a new "# views" item appears beneath the content of one's post – but above the left-facing arrow – for those using the official Twitter app on iOS. For those using Twitter in any other capacity, like posting or reading via good ol' Twitter dot com, the official Android client, a third-party app, or any other creative means for accessing the service, the view count currently appears to be an exclusive test – or full-fledged feature – on the iOS app.
If we sound a bit lacking in detail, that's because we are. Twitter's rollout of the small counter was done so rather stealthily and, as mentioned, it's unclear whether this is a temporary or permanent addition to the iOS iteration of Twitter's app. Twitter representatives aren't providing any additional details or clarification about the count.
At least the feature does provide a way for users to gain a little bit more information about that which they post beyond the usual listing of favourites, retweets, and conversations that one can glean via Twitter or one of the many third-party Twitter analysis tools that currently exist. We're not quite sure if that's meant to encourage users to post more — "yes, people are reading what you say!" — or discourage them from using the service if but a handful of Twitter friends even see one's witticisms.
Twitter's move is just one more that's designed to bring the service's primary interactions – like favouriting, retweeting, and following — front-and-centre within its official mobile apps. In doing so, the service has allegedly seen quite an uptick in activity for favouriting and retweeting (an increase of more than 35 per cent), which "might also be the reason Twitter finally feels comfortable making this type of metric public," writes Buzzfeed's Charlie Warzel.
Assuming that Twitter users don't react negatively to the official stats on their Twitter use, there's also a third option: Perhaps users just won't care that much about the count of people reading their tweets. Only 10 people might see any given tweet you send, but if they're your 10 best friends… does the figure really matter that much anymore?