Archive (5/2010): What Facebook and Twitter do: Redefine “new”

I wrote this in May 2010 in my old blog, highlighting the fact that news would circulate in a velocity that brought a new quality to content distribution. Old news today, but in those days, especially backed by data, it was relevant stuff to think about:

This graph shows a comparison of 2008 and 2010: the share of clicks a Youtube-video reached after how many days.


The change does not look spectacular, but that is just a matter of perspective which I tried to visualize in the graph below:

The half-life of a Youtube-video is now 6 days, meaning that it reaches 50% of its views after its first 6 days on the site. Back in 2008 (feels like ages), this was 14 days – more than double. This is a dramatic change, and the chart (I usually love “SAI chart oft the day”) does not really express that. Maybe this shows a bit clearer how radical and far-reaching this development is:

For both milesstones, 50% and 75% of clicks reached, the time is less than half of what it used to be in 2008 – just two years ago. This might be influenced by Youtube interface changes, but the main reason obviously lies in sharing and embedding.
In 2008, when Facebook was not even half as big as today, you would send an email with a link to Youtube to your friends. Or, if you were an HTML wizard, you would embed it on your MySpace site. Now that grannys can embed video and everybody and their mother use Facebook, things have accelerated dramatically. Just see how much Youtube-content is shared in social networks:

What can we learn form that?

1. The easier something is, the more people do it – for example sharing and embedding videos.

2. “NEW” is redefined in a more strict way. Nowadays, a 20-day-old Youtube-video is way older than two years ago.

3. News distribution from user to user gains importance, which means that a more spectacular (and more entertaining) message is key to generate eyeballs (we need a currency for that, like a “share-worthiness”).

4. As “uncool” as it may seem, a brand that would use a proprietary player on its site out of vanity instead of embedding a share-able Youtube-video acts … wrong.

5. This trend will continue, so a brand better a) builds social media relations, b) gets quick in producing and publishing video and c) better monitors the web daily – if videos spread faster and faster, this will also apply to videos that can embarrass or damage a brand, and before you know it, some 20 million people might have seen it.

Source: The “SAI Chart of the day“. I strongly recommend their daily newsletter.

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