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Twitter reaches 200 million tweets a day

How fast has Twitter grown in the last couple of years? In a blog entry yesterday, the company announced that Twitter traffic has now reached 200 million tweets a day. That’s a 100-fold increase since January 2009, and up from 65 million tweets per day just one year ago.

As Twitter proudly notes: “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.”

But what is everyone tweeting about? Every topic imaginable, says Twitter, citing examples as diverse as providing a bird’s-eye view of the Shuttle launch as seen from an airplane window to helping residents of a small city in Korea find fresh water after their supply was cut off.

There is no doubt that Twitter has burnished its reputation for being an unparalleled source of breaking news on the world stage. In just the last six months, it has delivered dramatic on-the-scene accounts of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the uprisings across the Middle East, the ongoing civil war in Libya, and even the raid on the Abbottabad compound of Osama bin Laden.

Of course, it has also reinforced its reputation as the #1 online destination for celebrity gossip. “Pop culture” remains a favorite category for twitterers, and it has become commonplace for every media outlet from The New York Times to Access Hollywood to turn to Twitter to get a better pulse on the latest happenings.

Although Twitter trails a long way behind Facebook when it comes to active users and the amount of time devoted to the site, it is no longer the butt of late-night jokes or known only for its service outages. As it continues to grow in popularity and importance, we get the feeling that 200 million tweets a day is just the tip of the Twitter iceberg!

Here are the top 10 Trending Topics for the first half of 2011, broken out into the two most popular categories:

World events/News

  1. AH1N1 - Swine Flu
  2. Mubarak - former Egyptian President
  3. Easter - Christian holiday
  4. Cairo - capital of Egypt
  5. #prayforjapan - sentiment following the March earthquake and tsunami
  6. Chernobyl - site of nuclear disaster in 1986 
  7. Libia/Libya - site of an ongoing civil war
  8. Fukushima - Japanese nuclear power plant
  9. William & Kate - Newly-named Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
  10. Gadafi - Libyan political leader

Pop culture

  1. Rebecca Black - pop singer
  2. Femme Fatale - newly-released Britney Spears album
  3. Charlie Sheen - actor
  4. #tigerblood - hashtag popularized by Charlie Sheen
  5. Nate Dogg - rapper
  6. Anderson Silva - Brazilian mixed martial artist
  7. Tom & Jerry - famous cartoon
  8. Mumford & Sons - British rock band
  9. Bieber alert - referring to artist Justin Bieber
  10. Queen Gaga - referring to artist Lady Gaga


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