Jayde Smith Team : Web Production Tags : Technology Usability

Twitter ends social proofing

Jayde Smith Team : Web Production Tags : Technology Usability

After some delays, Twitter has implemented its planned changes to update the look of its buttons and remove the shares counter. The new look share buttons are white over on-brand blue and have a modern new look. What makes this interesting however is that due to a second change, they may not be around for much longer.

Share counts have acted as a form of social proof across product pages, articles and various other online locations to date. Whether deliberate or not, users gauge content quality based on other users activities, typically whether or not they have shared a particular piece of content. Even though social share buttons are used rarely, the share number is what counts for this purpose.

The choices are to deprecate the feature, or rebuild it on a more modern tech stack. Rebuilding has its own costs, and would delay our work on other, more impactful offerings for our developer community. ~ Twitter

This is not the first time that developers have had to deal with sudden changes, however on this occasion it’s not the lack of notice that’s of concern (this was initially announced months back), rather it’s the limited options available which have people talking.

The old share button which Twitter provided would report total tweets which contained specified URL’s. It didn’t include the number of retweets, favourites or replies. Most noticeable was the lack of context in which the data was provided by reporting social reach of the people tweeting.

Displaying a share button that implies zero shares on Twitter, site owners may consider removing the button, thus having an immediate potentially negative impact.