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36 Hours to Go

What time are you reading this 6:00 pm? 9:00 pm? Or is it noon on July eleventh? It probably isn’t the twelfth or thirteenth. How can I make such an assumption? A team of physicists analyzed a web site and found that 36 hours is the half-life of a news article. After a day and a half most of the people who will read a news article have already read it. Chances are, dear reader, that you have not yet attended a Wednesday department meeting or a Thursday lunch date this week.

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Once web editors know about the ephemeral nature of online news, what do they do with such knowledge? Make sure they have a new article up every 36 hours? Not write about a topic that’s already lived for 36 hours? What would you do with this statistic?

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