Traffic on Twitter has increased 22-fold in the past 12 months, according to Hitwise, which analyses internet usage, making it the fastest growing site in the UK.
During May 2009, www.twitter.com ranked as the 38th most visited website in the UK and the fifth most visited social network. Just one year ago, in May 2008, it was the 969th most visited website and 84th most visited social network.
Robin Goad, director of research at Hitwise, said: "The noticeable thing about Twitter's growth is that the vast majority of it - 93% in fact - has occurred during 2009. If anything, the service is even more popular than our numbers imply, as we are only measuring traffic to the main Twitter website. If people accessing their Twitter accounts via mobile phones and third-party applications (such as Twitterific, Twitterfeed and Tweetdeck) were included, the numbers could be even higher."
According to Hitwise, Twitter has become a key source of traffic to other websites. During May 2009, Twitter was the 30th-biggest source of traffic for other sites in the UK, accounting for 1 in every 350 visits to a typical website. Over half of this traffic (55.9%) is sent to other content-driven online media sites, such as social networks, blogs, and news and entertainment websites. However, only 9.5% of Twitter's downstream traffic is sent to travel, business, finance sites and online retailers.
Earlier this week, Furniture store Habitat was caught in a Twitter marketing gaffe that saw the chain advertising its goods in postings about the political unrest in Iran.