Imagine you’re Take That. You’re standing back stage being deafened by the screams of hormone-crazed fans and you’re about to go out there. You know that when you do the audience will hang off every note, fawn at every smile.

So, you step out in front of that audience and shout “Hello Wembley!” into the mic….but the screams don’t crescendo, nothing changes at all.

And you realise, despite what you imagined, you’re not Take That. You’re Bad Boys Inc. Nobody is listening to you. The racket of adoration is actually the white noise of a conversation happening without you.

Now Twitter is trialing ‘people who viewed this post’ figures beneath tweets there may well be a few social media ‘gurus’ who find their bubble of confidence popped as they realise that while a huge follower number may indicate give the impression of stepping out on a big stage, the crowd isn’t actually paying them any heed.

Social media measurement has been a shady old area for a while. The easy figures to get at hardly tell you a thing (number of likes, followers) but the meaningful stuff hasn’t been available or was too convoluted for most to put into context.

But a few screengrabs are being shared of a new ‘tweet views’ feature. This puts a figure on how many views an individual tweet has had and shows it below the tweet, near the retweet and favourite counters. It only seems to be appearing on iOS devices so far and Twitter are yet to comment.

But if it does roll out more widely what insight will tweet views really bring for those managing social media accounts in local government?

Could it help identify influencers in your local community? Does the local blogger or the local newspaper get their tweets viewed more, despite disparity in follower numbers, and where does that mean your communication efforts should be focused? You can already start to work this out but tweet views could make it a whole lot easier.

On your own account could it help you understand what works and what doesn’t more easily? There’s still plenty of people gorging on the low hanging fruit of press releases and one-way tweets. Tweet views could provide a clearer picture of whether that’s as effective as you hope or whether you need to have a look again at how you use the network.

Yes, it may reveal some social media magic to be no more than smoke and mirrors. So what if you have 10k followers on your account if your tweets are only being viewed by a handful? Or will it be encouraging, giving some reassurance your voice is being heard in the mellee?

Writing about the roll out The Verge summised that if the feature doesn’t roll out more widely, or quietly disappears, it’s likely that it’s because it made too visible the fact few tweets were actually being viewed.

An uncomfortable proposition for many a council (and indeed individual) online.



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