Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Tweet smell of success over Digg

Twitter graph (HitWise)
The rise and rise of Twitter traffic in the UK

Use of Twitter, the mobile phone-based micro-blogging service, rocketed nearly 1,000% in the UK over the past year, according to industry analysts HitWise.

For the first time, the site has seen more visits than "social bookmarking" site Digg, which allows users to share links to sites.

Twitter made headlines earlier in January, providing the first pictures of downed US Airways flight 1549.

The site may continue its meteoric rise as the new US President is a devotee.

The Twitter site has jumped from 2,953rd most popular in the UK in 2008 to 291st as of mid-January.

"A big driver of traffic to Twitter last week was around the US Airways plane crash in to the Hudson River last Thursday, driving many posts and updates about the situation," said Hitwise research director Heather Dougherty.

The first picture of the crash was posted to TwitPic, and was picked up by more traditional media outlets - sparking the widely-quoted notion that Twitter is the poster child for a new era of citizen journalism.

Among the "Social Networking and Forums" category, however, Twitter came in at 23rd for the week ending 17 January, garnering just 0.24% of the site visits in the category.

1. Facebook
2. YouTube
3. Bebo
4. MySpace
5. Yahoo! Answers
Source: HitWise

Facebook maintains a significant dominance among them, with nearly 38% of site visits, twice as many as YouTube and more than four times as many as its predecessor Bebo.

"Twitter receives the largest amount of its traffic from the USA, but its penetration is greater in the UK market," said Robin Goad, a research director at Hitwise.

"However, the US may overtake the UK the week following the surge in Tweets during Barack Obama's inauguration. The new American President is already the most followed person on Twitter, with over 144,000 followers."

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