Twitter is experimenting with a new feature that will show how many people are “talking about” individual, popular tweets. The metric shows up under some embedded tweets when they appear elsewhere on the web, and seems to replace both the retweet and replies totals with one, cumulative total.
The new look for embeds as seen above is just a small experiment according to Dan Jackson, a Twitter spokesperson, but is part of Twitter’s ongoing attempts to explore new ways of providing more social context around tweets, he says.
It’s an interesting reframe of social metrics that might not be that familiar or intuitive to audiences not stepped in Twitter as everyday users – retweets and replies involve a bit more mental gymnastics to grasp than a simple and direct expression of how many people are engaging with the material.
Twitter’s simplification of this particular information, especially in embeds where new users or advertisers who aren’t as familiar with the platform are more likely to stumble upon them, is a smart way to make its internal success measure more externally relatable. As with all of its experiments, there’s not guarantee that this will ever roll out broadly, but it’s an interesting look at thought process around engagement metrics overall.