Twitter Overtakes Digg in Popularity

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Putting your thoughts in 140 characters and sharing them with the world is shaping up to be more popular than "digging" your favorite news. According to new market share numbers from Hitwise, Twitter, the popular microblogging service, is now more popular than Digg's social news aggregation service. Hitwise compared the sites in a report released Tuesday and bases the market share ranking by page views.

Unfortunate events such as the Hudson River plane crash and also more fortunate ones like Obama's Inauguration gave Twitter more mainstream exposure and moved it above one notch above Digg in Hitwise's hierarchy -- Twitter is now ranked at 84, with Digg at 85.

When the US Airways flight crashed into the Hudson River late last week, the first reports of the incident appeared on Twitter, including amateur photographs that later made headlines around the world and transformed Janis Krums into a celebrity of the moment. Hitwise confirmed the fact that this event was one of the main factors of Twitter surpassing Digg in visits market share.

The Numbers

Twitter had a sharp but steady rise in traffic ever since August 2008, while Digg's popularity decreased slightly.

According to Hitwise's numbers, Twitter also has more double the amount of Digg's young users: 45 percent of Twitter's population is aged 25 to 34, while this group represents only 20 percent of Digg's visitors share.

Also, it looks like Twitter and Digg have different allies: Digg receives most of its visitors from Google (almost 40 percent) while Twitter has better friends in social networks such as Facebook, where it integrates with dedicated applications, scoring over 100,000 active users.

The Benefit Of The Doubt

Over at TechCrunch they seem quite reticent in buying the Hitwise numbers. They point out other traffic monitoring services do not match up with the recent publicized numbers.

However, I do think it is highly possible for Twitter to surpass Digg in popularity, especially because in the Hitwise report, the traffic received from mobile devices was not measured -- and there are several Twitter apps for iPhone that are quite popular out there.

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