What is Twitter Without the Numbers?

How many people liked your last tweet? Oh yeah? Didja get any retweets? Was it enough to satisfy your need for acceptance, or were you disappointed by the Twitterverse’s reaction?

If you couldn’t see the number of likes, retweets, or followers you had, would you still even use Twitter?

[Ben Grosser] wants to know. He’s trying to see if people will look their relationship with social media squarely in the eye and think honestly about how it affects them. After all, social media itself isn’t the bad guy here—we are all responsible for our own actions and reactions. He’s created a browser extension that demetricates Twitter by removing any bluebird-generated quantifier on the page. It works for tweets, retweets, and the number of tweets playing the trending tag game. Numbers inside of tweets and on user profiles aren’t hidden, however, so you’ll still be able to see, for example, tweets containing Prince lyrics.

The Twitter Demetricator is available as a Chrome extension, and as a userscript for Tampermonkey for the other browsers people actually use (read: no IE support). Here’s what we want to know: Can he gamify it? Can he make a game out of weaning ourselves off of these meaningless metrics and inflated sense of self and FOMO and whatever marketing guff they come up with next to describe the modern human condition? We’re getting low on dopamine over here.

This isn’t [Ben]’s first foray into the social aspects of social media. We covered his Facebook demetricator way back in ’12.

12 thoughts on “What is Twitter Without the Numbers?

    1. While reading the article, I started thinking, “how pathetic, Twits are insecure and need constant reassurance.”
      And then, I thought, “Gee, sort of like me and my HaD comments…”

      A two edged sword cuts both ways!

      1. At least there’s no upvotes or other shitty comment-curating machinations from hell. Curated comments are one of the worst horrors of the internet imo. Simple chronological sorting is my favorite, but then you always get that genius who posts “first!” on every page.

        That phenomenon doesn’t seem to happen here. Well done everyone.

        1. “but then you always get that genius who posts “first!” on every page.

          That phenomenon doesn’t seem to happen here. Well done everyone.”

          Sadly, it happens even here from time to time.

  1. I am posting this comment solely to boost Kristina Panos’ ego. May the marginally increased number on your comment count provide a modicum of comfort to your soul, as you attempt to confront your inevitable demise and the eventual heat death of the Universe.

    1. The universe is suffering from heat-stroke?

      Is anyone helping it or are they – as usual – just standing around ‘rubbernecking’, telling each other how terrible it is and how someone should do something.

  2. “Can he make a game out of weaning ourselves off of these meaningless metrics and inflated sense of self and FOMO and whatever marketing guff they come up with next to describe the modern human condition? We’re getting low on dopamine over here.”

    Social media wouldn’t work if there wasn’t social behavior behind it. It’s in our nature to seek the approval of our peers. We can dress it up and call it peer review.

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