Great graph via bit.ly
Twitter and Facebook are the media of the right now. Try searching for something you wrote on Twitter, or filing wall posts on Facebook. It’s well nigh impossible. According to this study by bit.ly, this shows in the halflife of those links.
The mean half life of a link on twitter is 2.8 hours, on facebook it’s 3.2 hours and via ‘direct’ sources (like email or IM clients) it’s 3.4 hours. So you can expect, on average, an extra 24 minutes of attention if you post on facebook than if you post on twitter. (blog.bitly.com)
YouTube links, however, have a half life of 7.4 hours. Why? Well, visit YouTube. Recency is not king, popularity is. Managing the balance between recency (new news) and popularity (popular news) is the key to running a modern social site and, for readers, finding stuff worth reading.
Personally, I think FB and Twitter lean too far towards the recent, only doubling back via Likes and Retweets (which can recirculate content for days). For using those networks for ‘serious’ stuff I still find it extremely annoying that old posts are deeply buried and the only effective way to find them is to load page after page. For a long time search on Google Plus sucked, but now I see it’s getting better.
Anyways, balancing new and pop was the main challenge Kottu (a Sri Lankan blog aggregator) faced and we’ve addressed it to a degree by measuring ‘spiciness’ on the social graph (likes, retweets, clicks) to pull out the popular from the new. It’s a work in progress, but I think the Hot Hot Kottu feature makes going through the 1000 plus bloggers a bit more tolerable.
Anyways, that’s the half life of a link.