This week, Twitter finds itself weathering an FTC antitrust inquiry and the departure of one of its co-founders. But unwelcome news aside, the influential micro-blogging tool just released data that suggests it's looming ever larger in the fast-moving world of social media.
User growth has skyrocketed over the past two years. According to the official Twitter blog:
Halfway through 2011, users on Twitter are now sending 200 million Tweets per day. For context on the speed of Twitter's growth, in January of 2009, users sent two million Tweets a day, and one year ago they posted 65 million a day.
For perspective, every day, the world writes the equivalent of a 10 million-page book in Tweets or 8,163 copies of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. Reading this much text would take more than 31 years and stacking this many copies of War and Peace would reach the height of about 1,470 feet, nearly the ground-to-roof height of Taiwan's Taipei 101, the second tallest building in the world.
World news, such as tweets related to the Arab Spring, the tsunami in Japan, and the royal wedding, were among the top trending topics during the first half of the year. But Twitter still isn't as influential as Facebook in the online news sphere. A study published in May by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that Facebook is one of the most significant traffic-drivers for top American news sites, while Twitter barely registers as a referring source.