Does the real time web push publishers to obscure dates?

Posted on: July 16, 2011

I’ve noticed more and more that it’s hard to see on some sites when something was published.

We used to talk about newspapers being tomorrow’s chip paper. But now the real time web means information can lose its interest-factor in just minutes. On Twitter, statistics show that 92% of retweets happen within 60 minutes, after which a tweet tends to slip off into obscurity.

92% retweets happen in first hour

Source: Sysomos

The knock-on effect of our obsession with now? Well it seems the desire to make content appear fresh for longer is affecting web design -meaning sites are deliberately hiding away article dates further down the page.

It would be interesting to see how far this practice actually affects dwell time. That is, does the same article with an older date (e.g. one year ago), attract more dwell time (time spent viewing) from users when the date is less prominent on a page. If I come across any statistical evidence on this I’ll post it here…


1 Response to "Does the real time web push publishers to obscure dates?"

It’s so true that it’s really hard to keep up with all the content that is getting created these days and even harder to find some things because it’s constantly being pushed down by even newer content. Unless something really takes off in popularity, if you miss it in the first little while it’s pretty much gone forever.
One example of how this plays out is my friends on Twitter. Some of them are new to the system and sometimes say to me “hey, did you see my tweet earlier in the day?” and I have to say that unless I was staring right at my screen when you tweeted it, chances are it got pushed down too fast.
Today’s economy revolves around the creation of content. When so much of it is being produced people have to try even harder to make their content really stand out so that it doesn’t get lost in the sea of other content.

Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

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