Twitter's super-injunction surge

Who's done well out of the super-injunction saga - besides the lawyers of course? The answer appears to be Twitter.

Obviously the San Francisco-based site did not set out to be at the centre of a British media firestorm. But the result, according to some figures I've been shown, has been a big surge in traffic.

Experian Hitwise, which gets its data from internet service providers, says UK traffic to Twitter's website hit a new high on Saturday, as a footballer's attempts to use the courts to identify people behind various tweets dominated the headlines. The traffic was 22% higher than the previous day.

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The record before then had been set on 9 May, when the headlines were about the Twitter account used to reveal the names of those who'd taken out injunctions - including some inaccurate information.

Since March, Twitter's share of all UK web traffic, as measured by visits to sites, has risen from around 0.34% to 0.54% on Saturday. It may not sound that much but it represents many millions of people coming to Twitter for the first time. By contrast, Facebook accounts for 7.64% of UK internet visits, and the BBC News website for 1%.

Experian Hitwise says 12% of all the visits to Twitter last week were by new users, and the fastest growing group of users over the last year has been 35-44 year olds.

The research company concludes that Twitter, once the preserve of early adopters, geeks and news junkies, is now reaching new audiences. So is this the tipping point that persuades mainstream users in the UK to move from other social networks?

It's probably too early to say - after all it's not every day that you can get exclusive access to material not available in the mainstream media. But it looks as though the events of the last few weeks have accidentally provided Twitter with one of the most powerful marketing campaigns ever seen on the web.

No doubt they'll be raising a glass in San Francisco to a certain professional footballer who cannot - for now at least - be named here.

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