Like it or not, Twitter’s spectacular and explosive growth is unprecedented and in my opinion may herald something of a new era in broad based social media participation. Unlike Myspace and Facebook, Twitter appears to be popular pretty much across the entire US demographic landscape and is making significant inroads into foreign markets. Perhaps most significantly Twitter is doing this pretty much by word of mouth and huge free exposure on network news and celebrity TV. Twitter is growing rapidly without spending more than a trivial amount (if any) on marketing.
TechCrunch is citing Compete.com statistics showing 19 million vistors to Twitter last mont, up some 95% … per month. At that growth rate the service could surpass *all other applications* within a year. The recent increase was fueled by a celebrity onslaught of Oprah’s Twitter debut and the hugely popular Ashton Kutcher vs CNN Twitter duel and this is unlikely to repeat every month, but even at last year’s growth rate of very roughly 1000% Twitter will be very huge very soon. Facebook and Google continue to remain very solidly in control of much of the online landscape with hundreds of millions using those services but it’s now very clear that Twitter is in the social media game in a big way.
With a simple and intuitive interface, a 140 character limit on comment size, ten second sign up, celebrities, and superficial content, it’s easy to see why this service is popular among mainstream users as well as businesses who want to be able to push out content to “followers” quickly and easily.