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Headline News From bit.ly

Headline News From bit.ly
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Wired editor Chris Anderson recently told a German newspaper that he used Twitter to help him navigate the news rather than looking at sources. The point he made is an evolution of his media consumption habits that he discussed back in 2005.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 4 august 2009

Image Credit: Getty Images, Joseph Wee/Flickr

Wired editor Chris Anderson recently told a German newspaper that he used Twitter to help him navigate the news rather than looking at original sources. It’s an evolution of his media consumption habits that he discussed back in 2005. Back then he said that he reads all his news by monitoring blog mentions,  but in the article in Spiegel , he says that he monitors the links that come through on the Twitter streams he follows. He says that volume of mentions and the people making those mentions helps him work out which news articles to look at and which to ignore.

Anderson and others like him who shift through crowd-led content might soon get a helping hand from URL shortening service bit.ly. bit.ly is used by a thousands of Twitter users to shrink long web addresses to very short ones. As they process the URLs they also monitor the traffic that goes through them. Soon the company hopes to use this data to provide real time reporting of what news is important and/or popular. Wired Magazine reports:

Instead, he’s going to mine those links to create a real-time news service that would work somewhat like Twitter trends, except that it would track the hottest links rather than the most-used words. The result would be a Digg-like news service comprised of links determined to be important by bit.ly’s analysis engine.

“We’re seeing more than a billion clicks in the course of a month,” said Cohen. “Looking at that volume of data, we can see the most interesting and the most important content that is being shared across the whole of the real-time web. Sometimes that’s humorous stuff — the other day, the most shared video we saw on the web was William Shatner performing a dramatic reading of Sarah Palin’s farewell address.

“But it’s also occasionally very serious. We were able to see the Neda video out of Iran trending well before CNN linked it in, and we’ve begun to refine our capabilities there to be able to pinpoint stories like that.” He said part of this technique involves looking for links being shared by unlike people, because that means they have universal appeal.

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