Twitter, and trimming the fat

It's been a while, ESPN.com homepage.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, at least publicly, is known as the eccentric, trouble-making mogul who’d rather stare down a referee courtside than lounge in comfort in his suite.

But he is an intelligent guy. You can’t make billions of dollars without having at least a smart side. And in a recent post on his blog, Cuban speculated on an interesting topic that I’m sure piqued the interests of some of the Internet’s major websites.

With the advent of Twitter, Cuban argues, sites such as ESPN.com are losing considerable user traffic:

“In the past, sports fans first stop in the search for sports news would be  ESPN.com .  Twitter changed all that. Twitter means we dont have to go to ESPN.com, we just check our twitter stream. Those people we follow always send us the updates we needed right to us. And we like it.  And if we want more information, we just clink on the links they send us.”

This wasn’t the first time I’d heard someone point out this potentially game-changing development. CNBC’s sports business reporter Darren Rovell tweeted several months ago that article-specific links on Twitter will likely significantly devalue the worth of advertising on home pages such as ESPN.com’s.

It will be interesting to see how ESPN fights back, if at all. Twitter is all about convenience, and if other competitors consistently manage to beat ESPN to the punch on linking news and updates, the sports power stands to lose a considerable chunk of change.

For those of you who use Twitter, what do you think? Have Twitter’s article-specific links lessened the frequency with which you visit a website’s home page, or even certain websites in general? Or, conversely, have they led to more visits?

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