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Posting Links on Twitter

I have found that most of my favorite Tweets on Twitter are not mentioning what people are doing at the moment, but providing a link to something they enjoyed or thought fascinating.

I do a little bit of everything with my Twitter account (http://www.twitter.com/Pwlk).  Sometimes I’ll put up a random thought, sometimes a link to a website/news article, and yes, I will even post the occasional, is going ______ .

Something has caught my attention with regards to posting links on Twitter, though.  It seems to me that Twitter digs into each link that is posted to a tweet.  A little while ago I posted about my new web application ReRoute.  I use this application to shorten URLs of websites and news articles that I want to send out on Twitter.  In the admin section of my application, I have implemented a counter that keeps track of how many times someone has gone to the shortened URL you created, along with a Timestamp of the most recent visit.  What I have noticed is that immediately after posting a URL on Twitter, the number of visits to the ReRoute URL increases by a few.  That’s right, not by just one, but a few.  I do not have a huge enough following on Twitter (or Facebook where my status is updated with my Tweets) for people to immediately be clicking links on my posts, so this confuses me.  And to further, the visits appear over a few seconds.

If I post a link on Twitter and immediately refresh ReRoute’s admin page, I will see that the visits has jumped from 0 to 2.  Wait a little bit and refresh, and now I might have 5.  The most I have seen within 30 seconds of posting something on Twitter is 8 visits.

I have no idea why this happens.  My initial guess was that Twitter was verifying that the address does lead to something, and that something is not harmful.  But after a little more thought, maybe it has to do with third party applications that use Twitter’s API.  I wonder if some of them dig through links in order to preload previews or something for their applications.

Who knows??? No me, that’s for sure.