From Dan Frommer’s progress report three months into his excellent SplatF blog:

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Top traffic referrers include Techmeme, Twitter, and Daring Fireball. I’ll probably write about this in more depth someday, but it’s amazing how much Twitter influences how someone like me or Michael Arrington or Brian Lam can start a new site and immediately have thousands of readers. This sort of endeavor would be much harder without Twitter. (Obviously, most of it has to do with the work we did before our new sites. But Twitter is the glue that connects us with our readers, and that’s really cool, and something that didn’t used to exist. It’s obvious why Facebook and Google are trying to get a piece of that.)
It’s certainly my experience that it’s getting harder and harder to launch new sites effectively unless you have a significant pool of pre-existing relationships in social media to get the initial and sustained attention.