Tracking Twitter at the New York Times

When I think of The New York Times, I do not think of technology. Yet, the newspaper has a sophisticated Research and Development Lab, which has been finding new ways for the company to make money in the digital age.

I had the opportunity to tour the R&D Lab a few weeks ago, and now I can share one of the things I learned. NYT tracks the life of all their stories on Twitter. Basically, the Times keeps track of who shares links to their articles on Twitter, when they share those links, and how their tweets spread and are shared with other people. What they’ve found is certain people on Twitter attract people with numerous followers, and some of their articles have a life span of 48 hours or more–a long time in the online space. What’s the significance of this? Well, one thing the NYT can do is target ads or use this information to see the lifespan of their articles. Articles still of interest can then be bought or at least easily found. It’s a big, interesting step towards monetizing the web.

To read the full article and see video of how the R&D Lab works, click here.

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