Yeah, it’s just speculation at this point based on one comment, but the idea that Twitter could be evaluating adding better metrics around post readership is enough to get some mouths watering, including mine.
Twitter has always been lacking in a native analytics feature for anyone who’s not an advertiser. A while ago there was some movement toward improvement in this area but nothing really came of it for, again, anyone who wasn’t putting in dollars. That’s why there’s such a rich field of companies and services who pull Twitter numbers and give publishers more information around network growth, engagement and more.
The most interesting idea around the teased new metrics is that posts would be measured not just by how many people *could* have seen it – the raw number of people who were following the profile at the time the post was published – but how many times that update was loaded into the feeds of individuals. In other words, I may be counted as a potential impression of a tweet because I follow X account. But if I don’t have Tweetdeck open at the time that post was published or within a window of, say, 2 minutes after it was published (meaning it’s reasonable I could scroll through and still see it) then it’s almost guaranteed I didn’t see it. Am I a potential reader? Yes. Am I a likely reader? No, not at that time.
The comments about better native metrics may just be wishful thinking on one person’s part and a lot of extrapolation on that wishful thinking by myself and other commentators. But it has highlighted the reality that right now Twitter doesn’t offer native metrics for the tool. Those are absolutely needed by companies who may not be advertising but who still have business goals tied to publishing updates meant to reach its followers on that network.
I have to admit I really do like the idea behind LinkedIn’s new Endorsements feature.
With just one click, you can now endorse your connections for a skill they’ve listed on their profile or recommend one they haven’t added yet. Think your connection is great at programming AND project management? Let them know!
That sounds a bit glib but it’s not meant to be. It actually seems to me to potentially be a better way of measuring influence than the fuzzy (and easily gameable) systems of tools like Klout. LinkedIn is, at it’s core, based on the idea that these are the people you’ve connected with for professional reasons. Facebook is very much about personal connections but LinkedIn has always been about connecting with people as a way to network virtually, creating a repository of folks who hopefully know what you can do and how well you can do it.
Let’s take the hypothetical situation of my being an executive who is searching for a new sysadmin. I’ll start by searching my LinkedIn network for someone with those skills. Then when I see that someone has received X number of endorsements compared to someone else who has received fewer, I can factor that into my thinking about who to contact next.
And I think that’s why I like this more than I like something like Klout, which I’ve never given much weight to: Klout always seemed more about someone’s own ego and the sycophants who they’ve surrounded themselves with who will give them “kred” about this, that or the other thing. But the fact that it produces a number continues to tell me it’s still about ego and not any sort of number that means anything to the outside world.
LinkedIn Endorsements, though, seem more about validating – or not – the skills that someone has given themselves. An endorsement by a professional contact validates and lends weight to that self-evaluation, something that seems much more credibility to my mind and therefore more valuable when it comes to evaluating the people I’ve connected with professionally.
According to reports that came out of ONA12, Twitter’s Dick Costello said you should be able to download your Twitter publishing history before the end of this year, assuming it fits in with the developer roadmap.
The idea has caught a lot of flack from people who assume (perhaps rightly) that it will only be what each account has published that will be downloadable and not the conversations and other meta-data, including Retweets, that are associated with and happened as a result of those updates. That’s a legitimate concern and there’s a lot of valuable information that could be missing or, worse, lost.
What concerns me more is that the format these are available in won’t allow them to be imported into any other platform. If, for instance, I want to take them and put them into a WordPress or Tumblr blog that can be searched and archived I probably won’t be able to. That’s an assumption I’m basing on Twitter’s recent moves to restrict access to its’ API, including their cutting off Tumblr and Instagram from searching people’s Twitter contacts. The company, it seems, thinks that this sort of restriction will make those other platforms less attractive and therefore convince people to spend their limited social publishing time on Twitter instead of elsewhere.
Regardless of those concerns, I am excited to have an archive of my Twitter updates. I’m a completist and like having everything I’ve written tucked away under my control in some form. I wish I had archives of my contributions to MarketingVox, AdJab and the other sites I’ve written for. It’s an exciting prospect for me, not because I want to go back and revisit just how witty I’ve been in 140 characters. But because they represent in some way how things – my interests, my thinking, the industry in general – have evolved over the last several years.