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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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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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About the author

His work has also been published by Kill Screen, Tom's Guide, Tech Times, MTV Geek, GameSpot, Gamasutra, Laptop Mag, Co.Create, and Co.Labs. Focusing on the creativity and business of gaming, he is always up for a good interview or an intriguing feature.

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