The micro-blogging service is now the 91st most-visited website among British internet users, making it more popular than online travel service Expedia.co.uk and price comparison site Money Supermarket. It means that Twitter is now the seventh most popular social networking site with UK surfers, behind Facebook, YouTube, Bebo, MySpace, Yahoo! Answers, and Nasza Klasa, which has been dubbed the “Polish Facebook”. Hitwise, the web analytics service that released the figures, said that there had been a “noticeable increase” in visits to the Twitter website since the micro-blogging platform had started to receive more widespread mainstream media attention. Stephen Fry, the second most popular person on Twitter after US President Barack Obama, recently discussed the service with fellow user Jonathan Ross on BBC One, causing a leap in traffic.
“Over the last 12 months traffic to Twitter.com has increased 27-fold,” wrote Robin Goad, a research director at Hitwise, on his company blog. “However, the service is likely even more popular than our numbers imply, as we are only measuring traffic to the main Twitter website. “If the people accessing their Twitter accounts via mobile phones and third-party applications such as Twitterrific, Twitterfeed and Tweetdeck were included, the numbers would be even higher.” Mr Goad believes that one of the main reasons for Twitter’s success is the ecosystem of sites and applications that have built up around it. He singled out TwitPic, a website that allows users to quickly and easily post their photos to Twitter, as one example of this. TwitPic famously hosted some of the first pictures of last year’s Mumbai terrorist attacks, as well as dramatic images showing the moment that US Airways flight 1549 crash-landed on the Hudson River in New York last month. “TwitPic ranked seventh in our Entertainment (Photography) category last week, up from 26th place a month ago,” wrote Mr Goad. “TwitPic is still small in comparison to Flickr and Photobucket, but is growing rapidly. UK internet traffic to the site has increased more than fivefold already this year.” Twitter's growing presence within the technology community is demonstrated by a forthcoming series of Twitter meetups, dubbed "Twestivals", which are being held to raise money for a charity that provides clean water supplies in developing nations. The events, which will take place on February 12 in almost 200 cities around the world on February 12, are expected to raise around $1 million for charity, and bring together more 20,000 Twitter users. ( www.telegraph.co.uk )