Tweets past, present, and future now show their exact number of retweets and favorites instead of showing “50+” if they pass that count — a move that could promote vanity and competition on Twitter. Since the change is applied retroactively, you can see a tweet about stopping polio from Bill Gates last year got 1,178 retweets and 119 favorites, and yes, all Justin Bieber had to do was tweet “New York City. #BELIEVE” this week to score 22,276 retweets.
The change could remove the need for some wildly popular accounts to use third-party measurement tools, but mostly it will just let the average person see when they or someone else has a true moment of brilliance. Some might find this fun. However, the exact counts could make people feel like they have no influence when they see they’ve received two retweets while someone else got twenty thousand.
Until now if you played Twitter as a sport, you were competing on follower count. But really that’s mostly a sign of celebrity and time on the service. Now if you have an amazing tweet, everyone will be able to see just how prolific you are. All they need to do is click on your tweet from the web or mobile interface to see it expand to reveal its exact retweet and favorite counts. However, there have been reports of the Twitter API and GUI showing different counts.
At TechCrunch we appreciate the 2.2 million savvy readers who follow us, and it’ll be nice to instantly get a better sense of what content resonates with you all. But now it’s more important than ever to remember it’s the quality and thoughtfulness of what you tweet, not the RTs and FAVs that really matter.
After all, many great artists aren’t adored until long after they’re dead. So give it 100 years, Bieber, then we’ll see if which of us got more retweets.