Yesterday, while revisiting the whole LGF “tweet counter” issue yet again, I posted the following:
Why the heck does bit.ly need to supply the “retweet” count? For the nth time, Twitter supplies their own tweet counters, free of charge, and they’re universally used by every other blogger and webmaster on the internet. They’re easy to add, and they don’t come across as an attempt to fool visitors (or lizards).
If one feels that the “clicks” are an important statistic (apparently Johnson and Resig are the only folks who feel this way; incoming twitter traffic shows up on the list of referrers like everything else), it could easily be a separate, individualized counter. But for some reason, he just continues to insist on this misleading configuration.
First, a clarification: For some reason, in this particular comment, Johnson kinda implies that the LGF “retweet” button is his own, but we know that it’s just a variation of Resig’s original design.
Next, the bolded portion above was a bit of a flaw on my part, as I really didn’t have anything at the time to back this assertion up. It could very well be that, in addition to LGF*, many bloggers and webmasters have adopted John Resig’s* so-called “Easy Retweet” concept and implemented it on their sites as well. I just haven’t noticed any. But we should give finding one a shot, I figure.
So, in the spirit of fact-checking (and because today marks the 2-yr anniversary of the “retweet” button/counter), I’m hoping to challenge our DoD readers to a bit of a scavenger hunt, and see if some Google-fu or some insight reveals some other site out there using this code. Surely another blogger has realized the value of this reasoning…there must be another one, right?
This could be one heck of a challenge…
*As it turns out, Resig’s counter is even more misleading than CJ’s, as on his blog the number isn’t accompanied by an explanation at all (scrollover, or otherwise). One of Resig’s recent threads has a counter that reads 24,000! Yay retweets!
Update: To save time, I encourage everyone to use memeorandum, as it displays links to many, many blogs on one page (that happen to be politically-themed, but that’s the league). When you spot a blog that uses a regular, proper tweet counter (like say, Politicons or Weasel Zippers), please note it in the comments so we can prevent doubling work as much as possible (and to create an informal list of blogs that are normal). Thanks.
But today, we noticed that, nearly 24 hours later…not a peep. Why? Well, probably because it still hasn’t surpassed Killgore’s riveting page:
P.S. For the bit.ly stats for that Geller thread, click here.
Nine short months ago, Johnson put up a thread with this exact same title (littlegreenfootballs.com/article/37262). In the interim, however, some things have changed, so The Boiler Room feels it’s appropriate to resurrect it and get our readers and the LGF lurkers back up to speed.
To start, we’re also going to borrow the visual aid from the thread:
1. The member “rating” counter has since moved to the bottom left of each page, and is just as meaningless as a popularity counter as the day these were implemented. Case in point, my Pam Geller page had a +13 rating…before Johnson rudely tossed it into the memory hole.
2. The counter that CJ and the lizards referred to as a “retweet” or “tweet” counter, has been fact-checked and revealed to…not actually count tweets (rather, “clicks”). In fact, the counter is not connected to twitter at all. In comparison to the tweet counters on virtually every other blog and website (including the one here at DoD), the number displayed here is going to be grossly inflated.
3. The “clicks” counter has been suspected to be FUBAR for quite some time (in fact, even Killgore could see it). It was recently removed altogether by CJ under the lame guise of being “outdated” and “not meaningful”. We think it was out of embarrassment (many of the counters displayed “0” clicks, even weeks after being published).
4. The “views” counter was fact-checked by The Boiler Room and also proven to be fraudulent, both by the unique technique of the “front page effect“, as well as in the way the custom-built counter reacted to visitors’ clicks. In combination, these factors result in what we estimate as an inflation of at least 4x over what a normal view counter would tabulate on a blog like ours. However, the design is so convoluted and the methodology so disingenuous that we must admit that, after tracking threads, observing traffic patterns and watching these counters, the exact inflation factor is hard to pin down. In any case, like the “tweets”, the values are worthless in comparison to every other blog.
Looking at it again, the only statistic in that screencap that isn’t a complete joke is the timestamp (although even that is screwed up by a few hours on the pre-’07 main page threads, as we understand it was a side-effect of the big SQL conversion).
And the other “counter” that isn’t visible there is the one that counts the Page’s comments, and that one appears to work (although the grand total counter for the LGF archives is still technically off by 32,531).
I guess the bottom line here is that CJ appears to be pretty awful at counting…anything. But, hey, maybe the tech support at bit.ly will be just what the doctor ordered:
Now Why Would Anyone Think That’s a RETWEET Counter?
How could anyone mistake that thing for a ‘retweet’ counter? I mean, other than because it looks like one, and Charles characterized it that way in one of his Tech Note posts, and the mouse-rollover on the LGF Pages called it a retweet counter, and… I mean, was it something Charles said?
Charles, or rubbing it in here?
Engineer #1012, using
The World's Greatest Blog Search Engine™, has recovered a sample of confusing statements by Charles about his retweet counter. We hasten to add that they’re ‘confusing’ only because none of us are as smart as Charles is about this technical stuff.
How exactly does the number of clicks on the short URL act as a reliable proxy for retweets anyway? [Hint – it doesn’t.] Sounds like a job for timed-out, post-modern, science-guy
Addendum (ChenZhen): The old tweet counter was used for the first year, as far as we can tell, before it was changed to the current one.
Oh, and I found another one: