Twitter Count Is Gone! What do we do now?

By | November 22, 2015

twitter count

If you haven’t heard it yet, as of 20th November 2015, Twitter has deprecated the Twitter Count API.

What that really means is, you will no long be able to see the number of shares a particular URL gets as the Twitter Count API cannot be called.

Needless to say, the online marketing world is  aghast at this decision and are raising questions if Twitter really knows what they are doing?

Twitter Count was an important metric. Many of us have been leveraging it as a social proof, telling the world how popular our page has been. And all that is going to change now.

Most of us are trying to find a reason why Twitter decided to deprecate Twitter Count and how it affects us.

Why Twitter Count is deprecated?

At a time, when most of the social media platforms are keen to show case some kind of social proof in order to tell the world that their platform has the best reach, why would Twitter Count be deprecated?

While Twitter has given the official reason as –

The “count API” has never existed as part of our public, supported and documented API endpoints; it was only intended for use by our own web widgets. We’ve often cautioned in our developer forums that use of such undocumented endpoints shouldn’t be relied upon, as we cannot commit to supporting them.

But most of us do not believe it and we think that there are 2 primary reasons –

  1. Counts of competitor platforms are higher – Twitter has been competing with Facebook for a while now and somewhere we see that count and engagement was getting higher on Facebook. Also, sharing on Pinterest was also picking up. Maybe, Twitter didn’t want us to see that the shares on Twitter is going down compared to other platforms. Maybe, just maybe!
  2. Pay for it! – Most of us think this to be primary reason. We know Twitter is struggling to generate revenues and given the popularity of Twitter Count, they want to tap it and create a new revenue stream. Not a bad idea, but while other platforms are still providing it for free, will the early move help?

Potential Impact of Twitter Count Deprecation

I believe the impact is at multiple levels. It could impact a blogger, an agency, a reader and a tool developer in multiple ways.

  1. As a Blogger – Most of the blogs or even a normal HTML page has a share button these days with a count displayed on it. The count serves as a social proof to tell the readers that the particular page is popular with the readers. The inability to show that kind of a proof could impact the way popularity of the page is gauged leading to less people sharing it. Ah! Too bad!
  2. As an Agency – Digital Marketing agencies across the world thrive on numbers. Twitter Count gave them the ability to tell their clients that their money is being well spent and they could show some quick RoI. Now, they will have to find some other vanity metric to be able to showcase RoI.
  3. As A Reader – We did rely on number of shares to know how popular the article/page has been. Many of us shared further based on shares we see on the page. So, absence of Twitter count could impact resharing on Twitter
  4. As a Tool Developer – And I believe, this could be the widely affected community. Social platforms are popular because of the many tools that leverage its various APIs. Many tools leveraged the Twitter Count API and loss of connectivity could hamper the adoption of their tools.

In all the confusion, I too believe Twitter is indeed making a huge mistake in deprecating the Twitter count API. This could be a gain for other platforms and they could see an increase in number of shares on their platform thereby increasing adoption too.

Your Turn

  1. How do you see losing Twitter count affecting you?
  2. Why do you think Twitter is doing it?
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