Are the New Twitter Analytics Narcissistic?


By Terry Sheridan Why wouldn't you want to know how many people looked at the photos you uploaded from your 4th of July party? As the battle for attention wages on, Twitter has opened a new front with increased access to back-end data  including views and retweets. This data has been available to advertisers for years, but now Twitter is rolling it out to the public.

It’s not one more tool; it’s a whole new box. If you have a verified account,  more than 1,000 followers, or advertise, you have access to the new Twitter analytics dashboard. This will allow you to see your unpromoted tweet's impressions, engagements, retweets, and favorites all at no cost whatsoever.

We all crave knowing how others see us; it’s just an aspect of being human that means we care about how we look and come across to others. It’s usually not that hard to know if someone doesn’t enjoy your content -- as anyone who comments on or posts a YouTube video will soon figure out. But what is slightly more difficult than whether a piece of content is good or bad, is actually connecting your followers with content they will enjoy. With these Twitter analytics, we can now see demographic, interest, and location data on our followers -- essentially the who, what, where.

Retweets, favorites, mentions, and replies are all ways to link content, but they are also metrics we use to tell how well the content performed. Having more robust data around these metrics allows you to correlate not only what tweet performed best, but what kind of tweets. You can take a more methodical and practiced approach to creating content that your audience will enjoy.

At first glance, you might think this new power might give people more of a reason to tweet useless content, as New York Times columnist Jenna Wortham noted in her article about Bieber-fever. However, this is really more of an example of how the “less is more” argument Facebook has pitched to advertisers over the past year about cleaning up the News Feed may need to be implemented in the Twitter feed.

Sure, you could see the new analytics as fueling narcissism, and use the free tools Twitter now offers to improve your cheap laughs and retweets. However, the more interesting story is that brands are now able to see how well their organic tweets perform and thus spend their time putting out better, more engaging content.

What do you think about the new Twitter analytics? Sound off in the comments!