Twitter is like a high school popularity contest. How many followers do you have? Do they really care what you're tweeting? Feeding into that mentality, the micro-blogging service is slowly giving select users access to the alpha version of Twitter Analytics.
Twitter Analytics is similar to tracking technology that advertisers use to gauge the effectiveness of Promoted Tweets. Before the end of 2010, Analytics will be available for all Twitter users who need that extra oomph of self-esteem about who's following, unfollowing, and individual tweets' success in starting a conversation (even though Twitter isn't a conversational platform -- but whatever).
Mashable explains how Twitter Analytics works:
"With Twitter Analytics, users will be able to see a plethora of data about their account; for example, information about which tweets are most successful, which tweets caused people to unfollow, and who the most influential users are that reply and retweet their messages."
The screenshots Mashable obtained show that Twitter Analytics will look a lot like Google Analytics, and will hopefully be as robust.
Tracking the ship-jumpers who unfollow you because of your emo tweets is a lot like the Facebook app that shows who is unfriending you (probably for similar reasons). So if you're particularly sensitive about your steady decline in awesomeness, Analytics might not be for you.
Though Twitter has not made an official statement about its Analytics program, The Next Web claims that it has, in fact, been "confirmed." Twitter has apparently given "a very small group of Twitter users access to a simple and straightforward analytics dashboard, as part of an alpha test." Who received access is yet another layer of jocks versus nerds: only users who are doing "interesting things" with their accounts were bestowed the honor.
Twitter apparently has its own private popularity and reputation meter, too. Speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit, Twitter founder Evan Williams said his team's "science and math people" have metrics gauging who you follow and who the people you follow follow "and try to find 'Who to Follow' relevance in that overlap," according to TechCrunch. Are you part of the in-crowd? Do people even use that phrase anymore? Sigh.