Some time ago in the UK, a baby otter was orphaned and left to fend for itself after its siblings also perished from being motherless. Before you say something like “poor baby otter,” there’s more. To the rescue came some humans who introduced the baby otter to some kittens who were also orphans. And in the classic case of furs of a feather sticking together, they all bonded and are said to be living happily ever after – except for the feather part. The thing about this particular story was that when the link was posted on Twitter by Stylist Magazine, the clicking began. Someone tracking the clicks per ten minutes would have seen the buildup to a peak, at which point the trend would head downward. As it turns out, the people at Bitly were doing just that and in short order, they would soon discover that the half-life of that link was 70 minutes. (Half life being the amount of time it takes for a link on Twitter to achieve half of the clicks it would ever receive.)
By now we’ve all come to think of Bitly as the place for shortening links – but not necessarily for links to shortening for the next pie crust. But Bitly is much more than that. It seems that Bitly is big into metrics. They’re feverishly studying the way content makes tracks across social networks and how this relates to the day and time. Their data shows that the half-life of a Tweet is about 2.8 hours and it’s best to post to Twitter by 3 p.m. The highest click counts on Twitter happen between 1 and 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Twitter may do Windows, but it doesn’t do weekends. Bitly describes Tumblr as the “party” social medium because it is active on evenings and weekends when Twitter closes up shop. Never post there before 4 p.m. Over at Facebook, the traffic also peeks midweek at 3 p.m. Post on Facebook at 3 p.m. on Wednesday and it has a better chance of going viral. And Bitly wants you to know, it’s weeding out the spam and counting only true clicks.