What is it?
This is an interaction found on Twitter. All tweets in a timeline have live counters that change in real-time as you navigate them on a timeline or browse them in their particular detail views.
How does this interaction or solution work?
Twitter became a social media powerhouse by creating a platform highly optimized for real-time interactions and content consumption. Twitter is usually the first-time source for many global events reporting, and it has become a critical public communications medium for politicians, companies, and high-visibility individuals.
Given that the real-time aspect of the network is one of its vital value propositions, Twitter has been investing heavily in creating interactions that allow people to get a pulse of how different topics and particular tweets evolves.
One of those features is the ability to see real-time interaction of individual tweets.
Twitter accomplished this by having live counters of likes, retweets, and replies.
As users scroll through the timeline or look at a particular tweet, they can notice how the counters change when new likes, retweets, and replies happen. These live counters are coupled with other interactions like real-time refreshing of the timeline and the comments list.
How does it help the user or improve the experience?
Telltale and Delight
Modern systems need to rely on different communication mechanics to show users the nature and behavior of the system.
In Twitter's system, there's is a particular need to communicate to the user that the system and its interactivity work in real-time. Without this communication precept, Twitter wouldn't exist.
Live counters of tweet interactions function as telltales that reinforce these concepts. Telltales are devices or objects that automatically give a visual indication of the state or presence of something.
In this context, live counters work as indicators that give the final user an idea of how the state of a tweet changes in popularity, which ultimately reinforces the concept of real-time communication.
Finally, small micro-interactions like these can help to increase the delightfulness factor of the service and therefore increase the overall satisfaction.
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