As I find less and less people linking to OUseful.info and more and more traffic coming from twitter, it struck me that I needed another source of ego boost juice. So here’s one… how many people click through on links I share on Twitter?
One easy way of tracking this is to use bit.ly. If you get yourself a bit.ly account, you’ll find it also comes with an API key (you can find it on your bit.ly account page). This can be used in some Twitter clients (I use Tweetdeck) to generate a short URL that can be tied back to your bit.ly account. (Configure Tweetdeck by going to Settings, and then looking for the Services tab, where you’ll find a slot to enter your bit.ly API key.)
So what sorts of stats do you get back? Summary ones like these:
and more useful conversation tracking stats at the link level, like this:
You’ll notice for this link that several bit.ly URIs have been minted for the same web page (the total number of clicks exceeds the number of clicks from my link). So I can track the extent to which the bit.ly link I generated drove traffic, either directly from my tweet or other folk retweeting the link (or sharing it on without referencing @psychemedia back), or from other folk who generated a shortened link to the same post.
Let’s see who those people might be, in the context of the conversations surrounding this bit.ly shortened link (and other bit.ly variants that resolve to the same page):
So what’s all this good for? A couple of things spring to mind:
1) tracking conversation around OUseful.info posts that are reference the post via a bit.ly short link;
2) monitoring the extent to which I have managed to amplify a post, by virtue of the number of people who have clicked on it;
3) monitoring the extent to which other people have in turn amplified the bit.ly link I minted;
4) identifying other conversations around the same linked to web page via other bit.ly URIs that resolve to the same web page.
I can’t think why I didn’t sign up to bit.ly sooner?
PS note to self – how might we make use of this in a WriteToReply context?
PPS could this info be used as part of a “link community” tracker, cf. hashtag communities?