Thirteen major news organizations. One week in February. More than 3,600 tweets. And only 1 percent of those tweets sent followers to another news site.

That’s perhaps the most striking finding in a study released yesterday by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.

The researchers, Jesse Holcomb, Kim Gross and Amy Mitchell, concluded that Twitter is mostly being used as a promotional vehicle for news organizations:

This behavior resembles the early days of the web. Initially, news organizations, worried about losing audience, rarely linked to content outside their own Web domain. Now, the idea is that being a service-of providing users with what they are looking for even if it comes from someone else-carries more weight. It bears watching whether Twitter use for mainstream news organizations evolves in this same way.

I couldn’t agree more. Especially the last sentence. Linking outside of your website is commonplace now. It’s like a gentleman’s agreement of sorts actually. It goes something like this: you linking to my website is great for search engine optimization, so when I have a reason to link back to your website I’ll do the same thing. Read more