There are several ways to track popular stories on Twitter thanks to services like TweetMeme among others. However, the most common way of measuring popularity has usually been through the number of re-tweets a link has received.
Though using Retweets is a good measure, it in itself does not show the popularity of a shared article. For example there are thousands of users who automatically tweet a link using services such as Twitterfeed, so almost 50% or more of those retweets might be automated.
Bitly News is sort of a top news for Twitter which is pretty similar to how Hacker News is, however, instead of using crowd sourcing, the developer of Bitly News uses the Bit.ly API to source data and ranks articles based on the number of clicks it has generated. These kinds of lists definitely make sense since it takes actual measurement into consideration.
However, since Bitly News solely relies on bit.ly URL shortening don’t assume it to be 100% accurate or for that matter even 50% considering the number of alternative URL shortening services in use today on Twitter.
Bitly News was created by Jeff Miller as part of the Bit.ly API contest, for which he also won the first prize. It would be interesting to see how Jeff can take the project further to also include or source data from other URL shortening services to create a comprehensive snapshot of trending links on Twitter.
(Source: Tech Crunch)