Ever wondered how much traffic a link on Twitter garners? Fuel Interactive, based on data from BitLy, the URL shortener, has conducted a study, of sorts, to find out. Its findings: A link is live on the average Twitter feed for, generally…five minutes.

We asked the author of @thewholeworld, who has about 2,500 followers, to run a series of three tests promoting various funny videos or articles. What we found was surprising; nearly all traffic to those links was within five minutes of the tweet. After that… nothing.

Well, almost nothing.

While a tweet lasts forever in search.twitter.com, it only lasts for a few moments in the eyes of 99% of your followers. If you have a follower who is not watching their twitter stream when you tweet, your message falls on de[a]f ears since you’re likely going to be off of their 1st page.

The moral of the study, then? Tweet early, and, more importantly, tweet often.

[Thanks, Nieman Lab.]

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.