Tweets and buttons

Dec 23, 2010 · 3 min read

As any social media geek I like to get things I publish to be shared pretty much everywhere. And I like to know how many times they have been shared. Since my little blog isn't very popular and since the Tomato Branch readers aren't very much into sharing the stuff, the numbers are lower than low. But still, I'm so very interested. For Twitter there are several different ways to share and to see the count. I've tried the Drupal ported versions of Twitter's own Tweet Button, TweetMeme's Retweet Button and Topsy's Retweet Button.

How they differ. Tweet Button is shown in the site's RSS feed, which is rather annoying. TweetMeme button sticks at the top of the post and cannot be moved without some serious CSS. Topsy button is most modifiable, even it's color can be changed, but as "small" button it doesn't show the zero tweet count. Please note: Some of the problems mentioned are because of the current Drupal portals of the buttons. For more info see the Drupal modules TweetMeme, TweetButton and Topsy.

The most interesting thing about these nifty tweet buttons is they show different tweet counts. Because all the blog posts are fed to my Twitter stream, there should be at least one tweet per post.

But this is not how these different services see it: Topsy doesn't seem to have any interest in including most of my tweets. Therefore the tweet count seems to be zero for most of the posts. Only some of the tweets are included and counted and frankly it doesn't make much sense which one's. Both TweetMeme and Tweet Button don't seem to decide whether to include all the tweets or not. Especially TweetMeme leaves some of the tweets out of it's count. Another problem with TweetButton is Twitter also seems not to include all the tweets to it's search. Even if the count works there might be a "No results" page as a result of the search (the search page is linked to the tweet count). This seems to be pretty random and doesn't even have anything to do with the date of the post/tweet.

Tweetbuttons on Tomato Branch

On the screenshot above can be seen the TweetMeme Retweet Button on the top right of the post, Topsy Retweet Button on the lower left, sided with Facebook Like (or rather Recommend) button and TweetButton on the lower right. The post featured is the previous The site of Tuesday #11. Notably on that post TweetMeme and Twitter agreed about the tweet count, but Topsy, as usual, remained completely ignorant. As far as I know one is the correct count.

After some quick tests it's clear the TweetButton and Topsy's button are way slower than TweetMeme. It can take half a minute or so for them to load. Sometimes TweetButton itself loads, but the tweet count takes some moments to show up. And since Topsy is so random about including the tweets, using it is out of the question. It's a pity, because it is the most modifiable. And since TweetButton (the Drupal ported) is shown on the site feed and all the tweets don't show in the search, it's out of the question too. This leaves no choice but to go back with TweetMeme, however wonky it's count is. And right now it sits on the top of the posts. Well. Let it be.

Edit: Afterwards I noticed TweetMeme doesn't work at all and threw TweetButton on. I wish it didn't show on the feed though.


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