Twitter traffic up 974%

The micro-blogging service Twitter was one of the fastest growing websites last year with an increase in traffic of nearly 1000%, Hitwise UK reports. It has stormed up the rankings of the most visited websites in both the USA and the UK.

In the US, Twitter is now more popular than Digg after gaining a higher market share of visits for the first time last week. This can partly be attributed to the "citizen journalism" of the US Airways Hudson River plane crash last week and other recent events such as the Mumbai terrorist attacks and - of course - Barack Obama's inauguration, but Twitter has been slowly gaining on Digg for a while now. It is now ranked as the 350th most visited site for American Internet users.

Meanwhile, in the UK Twitter was the 291st most visited website last week - compared with a ranking of 2953rd in the equivalent week last year. This is down to a 974% increase in traffic to the site in the past year, and figures are continuing to rise. With these statistics excluding access to Twitter from mobile phones and third-party apps such as Tweekdeck and Twirl, it's clear to see that more and more people are finding Twitter to be the new "in thing". As well as this, the average user now spends half an hour on the site compared with less than 10 minutes a year ago.

Updates from celebrities seem to be one of the driving factors for new users in the UK at least. Any Brits tuning in to the return of Friday Night with Jonathan Ross tomorrow night can expect to see two of Twitter's higher-profile users, Ross and Steven Fry, discuss their newly discovered phenomenon. According to Hitwise, other reasons behind the increases in visitors include more younger users and a large rate of incoming traffic from social networks. The outgoing traffic from Twitter itself has increased to 30 times what it was last year.

Graph: Weekly market share of visits - Twitter vs. Digg
Graph: UK Internet traffic to Twitter - growth from 2008 to 2009

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I dont use facebook i dont see the point with all the features it has, Twitter on the other hand is a simple and a great way to keep in touch and update people/friends without the BS

whats ironic is that all these people that contributed to the rise in social networking popularity will actually now have the chance to do it from home....because they lost their jobs....'go figure'

The problem with DIGG.COM is have a bunch of kiddies who "digg up" their posts with false information, plus, these idiots will digg down just about anyone who disagrees with them.

I just dont get what is so special about twitter or most of the things on the internet now. Im wating for something great to happen but I think stuff like this holds us back... well that and YouTube "Unboxing". I hate how facebooks tries to copy this with their "Stalkerr mode" as some people call it. "Person X is now blablabla", Person Y is friends with Person Z"...

What's with all the hate on Twitter? It's a fun little site and it's cool to see what other people are up to. I didn't use it very much when I first tried it last year, but I signed back up and I'm enjoying it much more than I did. It's not like it takes much time out of your day (you can't type more than 140 characters) so it's more like a complement to your normal daily activities.

People actually use this? Wow, so much for the days when people had hobbies or jobs to occupy their time.