So it is official, Brits absolutely love the microblogging (no, I don’t know what that means either) service Twitter. According to online trend watchers Hitwise UK, internet traffic to Twitter has increased 10-fold over last 12 months.
UK Internet traffic to the website has increased by a staggering 974% over this period. Hitwise also admits that Twitter is probably even more popular than its numbers imply, as Hitwise is only measuring traffic to the main Twitter website, not access via mobile (it’s big on the iPhone, I can tell you) or third party applications like Twitterrific and Tweetdeck.
So why is this? It is obvious why Twitter is growing on the other side of The Pond:
1. The Yanks invented it
2. Culturally, Americans are not afraid of sharing their plans, achievements and disappointments.
3. They have just had their May 1st 1997 – a one time moment of political optimism which is made for sharing over 140 characters.
But why then do we Brits love it so much? Well here are the results of our scientific survey of an office full of Twitter devotees:
1. We did kind of invent it – except it was called text messaging and was used on mobiles and you only shared with one person. The Americans never got texting the way we did so maybe Twitter is their text alternative.
2. As a nation, we aren’t that demonstrative – stiff upper lips and all that. One of the reasons why blogging isn’t as big over here is that we really don’t have that much to say. One hundred and forty characters gives us more than enough words to express ourselves.
3. Moaning about the weather – our national pastime and with Twitter we can talk about our favourite topic with a large group of people instantly. Brilliant!
4 Celeb stalking – ok, so I might not be too bothered about what Philip Schofield has for breakfast, but Brits do love to find out about their lives of their favourite celebs. Interesting to note that Stephen Fry now has more Twitter followers than either of the heavyweight Yanks Scoble or Calacanis.
5. Public transport – In British cities this is obviously completely shit, so what better way to let the entire world know that you are a few minutes late because you
have ducked into Starbucks are waiting for the non-existent bus.
6. We love mobiles – and those all you can eat data tariffs mean that we can happily let the world know our every move without having to worry too much about the cost.
7. Queuing – well, we are used to be being a little patient, so Twitter’s consistent down time doesn’t annoy us as much as it would, say, the Italians.
8. No ads – yep, it is almost a public services, a bit like the BBC. We are used to that.
9. Flirting – we perfected the art of the flirty text years ago. Twitter enables us to take that coy but complimentary comment to another level.
10. We are too busy to blog – all right, so our economy might be going down the toilet but most of us are still wedded to that old Brit work ethic. So, while we might not have the time to blog we can definitely find just enough time to tweet.
Thanks to Ash for that one. You can find more of his words on Pop Junkie and Anorak as well as his own blog. Keep ’em peeled for more from the man much sooner than you think. Well, perhaps not sooner now that I’ve dropped a hint like that but you get the point.