A couple of weeks ago, people at work chanced upon Tweetreach. This twitter analytics engine calculates the reach you have with your last 50 tweets. What it is basically. Atop the whole jungle of tweets, stands a pie chart breaking down your reach through retweets and mentions. Perhaps, there is more to this madness than meets the eyes but its hard to tell and the folks at Tweetreach are now even charging a premium for a more detailed analysis. Perhaps, one amongst us will take that route pretty soon 🙂

But the worrying fact among all of this daily checks is not the self-aggrandizing boost that makes one feel better. That is a side-effect of Social Media. Its numbers everywhere. It started with the race to most friends on Facebook, most followers on Twitter (see Ashton Kutcher vs CNN) and now most check-ins and mayorships on Foursquare. Whatever format you choose, there is a sad rat race for having done the most, knowing the most – numbers, numbers everywhere. But what has been lost – the conversation. Facebook has slowly emerged all hazy from the initial frenzy of the foraging of ‘friends’ and now people are having more active conversations which are doing Facebook justice as a social hub – even if LOLCats, drunk college grads and inane social games dilute the conversation. But people are still talking, conversing, meeting… But elsewhere on Twitter, the race for the most followers is apparent even today. So much so that the conversation is completely lost. People retweet messages, pull content from blogs, sites, and other mediums so much so that Tweetmeme now has a retweet counter. But what about the conversation around these links. I agree that the blogs couldn’t care less – the more publicity for them, the better ranking they get and ultimately better visibility. We share stories but don’t talk about them. We don’t post on the said blogs, we don’t leave comments but just participate in a mad race of retweeting, sourcing new stories and keeping followers & friends attuned to the latest news.

In the past two years, the explosion of users on Twitter (Thanks Oprah & Ashton!) has led this awesome medium astray, horribly. I long for my first months on Twitter born out of being at BarCamp, when techies who envisioned it were using it to share ideas, talk about trends, educate users and ultimately ‘talking’ & ‘listening’. Now we don’t listen or talk anymore but merely copy, paste and forget. I sincerely hope that with time, Twitter too will settle and that users will put aside the race for followers and ‘reach’ in hopes of leading more proactive conversations. Alas, I will wait for that day.

If you’re on twitter, you should come have a conversation with me: @mayankgarg