Retweet Counts all Shot to Hell
We’ve all kind of noticed that retweets of our articles seem to have dropped off lately. And yet we’re still writing blindingly incisive humourous and topical content with no discernable drop in daily traffic. Sometimes.
On one level it hardly matters, but there’s no denying that the Tweetmeme counter up there adds something to the way people respond to a post. If you go somewhere and the first thing you see is a big notice that this post has been retweeted 129 times then you immediately assume that it has to be pretty interesting and will dive into the post. It’s one of the reasons we don’t generally recommend using the tweetmeme counter on commercial properties – because nothing says “fail” more than post after post with 0 tweets, fair or not.
Now by all evidence, Twitter is still the office-waste-of-time du jour, so we started to poke around in the undergrowth to figure out what was behind this drop. Dave won’t give me his Twitter password (for some reason) so I’m using my own paltry feed for this example but it should illustrate the problem…
So the ‘retweet this to your followers’ feature that Twitter introduced a month or two ago disconnects the tweets from the stats. We don’t know why this is, but the favourite explanation is that it is down to the loss of the @ symbol – without that, the retweet count is somehow getting lost. In other words Tweetmeme is only counting retweets done in the old fashioned “@davenaylor” way and ignoring the crazy new-fangled “retweet this” button which all the pop kids are using.
Similarly, we’re divided as to who to blame. Twitter have changed part of their formula when they introduced this feature so it’s half their fault, but shouldn’t Tweetmeme be able to access the right data through the API?
Either way, we know for sure that we get more retweets than are showing up up there so we either have to look for an alternative to Tweetmeme or hope that Twitter get their shit together (we don’t hold out much hope for Twitter – the exploit we found in August last year was still working recntly.) Anyone else seeing this problem?
(P.S. Dave was going to write this post but his rage got the better of him so we dragged him away from the keyboard)