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BizReport : Social Marketing : June 21, 2016

People quicker to share, than read, news discovered on Twitter

New data from the French National Institute (Inria) and Columbia University suggests that the industry standard for popularity on social media needs to be rethought.

by Helen Leggatt

Analysis of data collected over a period of one month by Inria and Columbia University, including 2.8 million shares on Twitter responsible for 75 billion potential views, reveals that many links shared on the micro-blogging platform are never clicked. From the 1% of Tweets made public by Twitter, the researchers picked all URLs linked to five news outlets - BBC, Huffington Post, CNN, New York Times and Fox News during the one month research period.

The findings suggest that the bulk of clicks on Twitter are generated by a relatively small group of 'blockbuster' articles, with about 9% of shared links capturing 90% of Twitter clicks.

According to the study, "Social Clicks: What and Who Gets Read on Twitter?", it seems people are quicker to share, than read, news discovered on Twitter. While social networks measure a story's popularity in shares, the research found that 59% of all links shared in their sample went unclicked, and presumably unread.

"This is typical of modern information consumption," said study co-author Arnaud Legout, a research scientist at Inria. "People form an opinion based on a summary, or summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper."

In a nutshell, the findings suggest that "the industry standard for popularity needs to be rethought" as, currently, sharing content and actually reading it are poorly correlated.

Tags: metrics, research, social media

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