Twitter's U.S. users nearly double in March

ComScore says mounting media coverage may be behind 131% growth in U.S. Twitter traffic

Twitter Inc. continues to be on a roll.

The micro-blogging site had a 131% increase in U.S. visitors just from February to March of this year, according to online traffic tracker ComScore Inc. Twitter had 9.3 million visitors last month - five million more than it did in February.

And this news comes on the heels of another comScore report released earlier this month showing that Twitter traffic jumped 700% in February compared to the same month last year..

Andrew Lipsman, a senior industry analyst at ComScore, wrote in a blog post Wednesday that the widespread media attention has proven to be a boon to Twitter.

"It seems you can't get through a typical newscast anymore without some mention of Twitter," he added. "If you watched the news this past week, you might've heard that Newt Gingrich levied criticism of President Obama's response to the Somali pirate stand-off over Twitter. I mean, we're talking about the highest levels of government here, and a micro-blogging site is being used as a top politician's primary media outlet? It just goes to show you how much social media, and specifically a site like Twitter, has become woven into the fabric of our daily media lives."

Sarah Radwanick, a blogger for ComScore, last week had pointed to the rush of older users to become Twitterers as a major reason for its explosive growth.

ComScore reported last week that people aged 45 and 54 are 36% more likely than other age groups to use Twitter, making them the highest-rated age group, followed by those aged 25 to 34, who are 30% more likely to Tweet out updates about their life and work.

"The skew toward older visitors, although perhaps initially surprising for a social media site, actually makes more sense than you might think at first," wrote Radwanick. "With so many businesses using Twitter, along with the first generations of Internet users 'growing up' and comfortable with technology, this is a sign that the traditional early-adopter model might need to be revisited. Not only teenagers and college students can be counted among the 'technologically inclined,' which means that trends are much more prone to take off in older age segments than they used to."

Dan Olds, principle analyst with the Gabriel Consulting Group, said Twitter is benefitting these days from all the media attention that seems to be driving older users to the site.

"Twitter has become the cool thing to do," he said. "I'm hearing local radio shows that are Twittering live, for example. Twitter has been getting huge attention in the mainstream press lately. This seems to be the primary reason behind their big run up in users. At this point, Twitter has passed from the techie in-crowd to a mass-market service. It will be interesting to see if this is a fad or if these new users stick with it."

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