New bit.ly map tracks media popularity in real time

bit.ly Blog

As I write this, USA Today is Michigan’s favorite newspaper site, Fox News’ site tops those of other broadcasters in North Carolina, and BuzzFeed is the most important online site in Louisiana. That could all change in 10 minutes, according to a new map from bit.ly that visualizes how news sites are consumed online, based on recent link-sharing traffic.

Bit.ly’s previous map was static, which “did not allow us the ability to determine if publishers own certain states in perpetuity or if loyalty switches based on certain stories getting traction,” the service writes in a blog post introducing the new map.

The new map uses “disproportionate traffic rather than raw traffic count” because “If raw clicks were used to rank states, the national map would be more likely to be dominated by the largest media properties from each media category, and the regional affinity towards certain properties, whether based on geographical proximity, or the content itself would be lost.” Which may explain why The Economist’s site is crushing US Weekly’s in Montana, the Dakotas and West Virginia. A “click on a link only registers for ten minutes, after which it is forgotten,” the post says.

You can also watch the map light up in a real-time mode as, say, a Politico story dive-bombs Missouri. Right now, HuffPost’s top story on the bit.ly map is “Iggy Azalea Claims Miley Cyrus’ Twerking Was ‘Probably’ Inspired By Her Dance Moves.”

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