The developer, Luis Figueiredo, (LouMcAfee on Twitter), inspired by a number of other social link sharing services to gain the Web by storm this year, is aiming to fill a hole, helping us gain insight into the thoughts of Twitter Nation.
Today's top shared links on Twitter (Alpha Twitter)
As he wrote me in an e-mail today:
"Services like FriendFeed are indeed very useful and i've always would like to see a service that would display the popular links that are being shared by Twitter users. Such a service didn't exist and there was nothing like it out there, so I've decided to create my own."
The service, Alpha Twitter, is drop-dead simple to use, and to view. But what it lacks in style, it makes up for in simplicity. As with ReadBurner and other sites, it simply adds up how often URLs are shared, and aggregates the data over a 24-hour period. Those with the most shares go to the top. You can even click through the number of shares and see just who "tweeted" the item, and when they did it, which gives you an idea who has the fastest thumbs out there. And just a few days in, the service has already indexed more than a quarter-million Twitter links. It even got a quick mention from Michael Arrington on TechCrunch in a story about TwitLinks.
Figueiredo said Alpha Twitter simply parses all Twitter messages in the public time line, so pages are updated in real-time. The engine parses all Twitter messages in the timeline, searching for the string of "http://" and qualifying messages as containing links. And the service is even smart enough to decipher URL shortening services, including TinyURL. All the URLs and user names of who shared the links are then stored in a database.
The service, which is extremely new, is in the late alpha stage now, and is entering beta this week, Figueiredo says. But it already works now. And we can avoid any concerns about yet another service trying to make money off your content. Luis isn't in it for a buck, but instead says he is providing the site as a service to the community. You can check it out at www.alphatwitter.com or check out his blog at alphatwitter.com/blog.