MIT Technology Review has an interesting article about the paradox of Twitter’s power and struggle with making money.
Measurement is hardest of all with media such as Twitter, because the most common unit of Web usage–page views–doesn’t really apply. Tweets, after all, aren’t pages; they’re the units that make up data streams moving across many platforms and being consumed in myriad ways. As people spend less time on pages and more time sampling streams of data, tracking their behavior becomes extremely difficult. “The majority of what goes on with Twitter doesn’t happen on our website,” Williams says. “Quantifying Twitter is really hard. That is part of why we don’t share numbers, because they are always misleading. We are getting better at it, but it kind of drives us crazy.”
The article talks about a proxy for measurement–Web-address shortening–which gives a sense of how much Twitter and the real-time Web have grown. The article quotes that the number of times people clicked on Bit.ly addresses to open them exploded last year; in December, people did this nearly 2.3 billion times.
This is in line with my earlier post about short links and why its important to have a full view of content generation to consumption.