Shared Link Half Life

About a year ago, I concluded Twitter was a poor use of my time compared to writing on my blog. I still use Twitter but it’s mainly for adding pointers to my blog posts and only occasionally other items that aren’t worthy of a blog post. In conversations at conferences I have sometimes referred to Twitter having, what I have called, ‘a short link half-life’.

Today I came across an article that shares some useful analysis of how long people pay attention to links on across the various social networks. Coincidently, it talks about the half-life of links.  It turns out the mean half life of a link on Twitter is 2.8 hours, on Facebook 3.2 hours and via ‘direct’ sources (like email or IM clients) 3.4 hours. 

These times are very low compared to links in a blog post that are indexed by search engines and can remain popular for months. This makes me think that a) People should think more about the timeliness of their links and/or b) there must be opportunities for the social network providers to provide better search capabilities to data mine past information.