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Twitter Dumps Share Totals In Redesign Of Tweet & Follow Buttons
The buttons will get a flat design, swapping the white background for blue. The tweet button will no longer show how many times a URL has been shared on Twitter.
Twitter’s ubiquitous tweet and follow buttons are getting a new look and dumping share counts, a feature of the tweet button since its inception.
The redesign, coming in October, was announced without fanfare this week in a post on the Twitter developers forum and swaps the buttons’ 3-D effect for a flat look that’s lately become a go-to UI choice for online platforms. The background switches from white to blue and the text from black to white. The new look, which will be Twitter’s first changes to the buttons since 2011, is on the right in the image below:
Twitter’s buttons are seen all over the Web; publishers can include them on their sites with a simple line of code. After the change, the tweet button will no longer display the total of tweets associated with a page. For many publishers, that’s been a key component on their article pages, serving as an indicator of a story’s popularity. That simple benchmark will no longer be available using Twitter’s native button. (Twitter will still display the follower count with follow buttons.)
“The Tweet button has displayed share count over the last five years by querying a JSON endpoint hosted on various domains,” Twitter engineer Niall Kennedy wrote on the post. “These private JSON endpoints have been used by third-party developers over the years to retrieve a simple share count of any URL. These endpoints will be shut down next month when the Tweet button removes its share count feature.”
Third-party developers can work with Twitter’s search API’s search endpoints to gather information about URLs shared on Twitter, Kennedy added. However only Gnip, Twitter’s in-house and pricey data division, offers access to full-archive search count.
That means, as far as I can tell, that companies that offer social sharing tools will have to scramble — and possibly pay Twitter — to continue offering share counts with their custom tweet buttons. In many cases, publishers have stopped displaying tweet counts anyway, but others, including Marketing Land and Search Engine Land, still do it.
Gigya, one of the leading social sharing tool providers, said it will work through the issue.
“Although the out-of-the-box Twitter-Tweet button will no longer support share counts,” Gigya head of corporate communications Reeyaz Hamirani said in an emailed statement, “Gigya will be looking into the search API and other alternatives for maintaining the share count on our custom Twitter share button.”