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Page last updated at 06:44 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 07:44 UK
Traffic rockets to Twitter site
By Dan Whitworth
Newsbeat technology reporter

Twitter website
Twitter's popularity has soared over the past year

The number of people visiting Twitter increased 22-fold in the last twelve months, according to an internet monitoring company.

According to Hitwise, the site is now the fifth most viewed social networking site compared with the 84th last year.

Ninety-three per cent of Twitter's growth has happened in 2009.

Director of Research at Hitwise Robin Goad said: "If people accessing their Twitter accounts via mobile phones and third party applications were included, numbers could be higher."

Another measure of Twitter's popularity is its jump in the overall internet rankings.

Last year it was the 969th most visited site on the web. It's now the 38th most visited website.

Protestors in Iran
Events like the protests in Iran have gone global via Twitter

Twitter is popular with celebrities like Jonathan Ross and Stephen Fry.

"If anything, the service is even more popular than our numbers imply," said Robin Goad.

"We are only measuring traffic to the main Twitter website.

"If people accessing their Twitter accounts via mobile phones and third party applications like Twitterific or Tweetdeck were included, the numbers could be even higher.

"Media coverage of the site has escalated significantly this year and high profile celebrity endorsements likes Ashton Kutcher have come rolling in."

Micro-blogging site Twitter has also had a major impact on so-called 'citizen journalism', when members of the public use the site to break major news stories or updates such as the terror attacks in Mumbai or the recent protests in Iran.

But the social networking website still has some work to do to catch the likes of MySpace, Bebo and Facebook.

The number of people using Facebook has risen above the 20 million mark this year in the UK and 200 million around the world.

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