Tweeters Beat Out Diggers

Do you Twitter more than you Digg these days? If so, you’re part of new social networking trend as visits to the micro-blogging site beat Web site link sharing last week with citizen journalism playing a role.

Hitwise, an Internet traffic monitoring firm, reported today that tweets — the 140-character short posts by Twitter users — spiked last week likely due to coverage of the New York plane crash. The increased activity put Twitter at number 84 on Hitwise’s Computers and Internet category ranking, one ahead of Digg, a site that lets people share links to Internet-posted content.

The news comes as social networking activity matures into a recognized online communications tool. Photographs showing Flight 1549’s emergency landing began popping up on social networking sites like Facebook and microblogging services like Twitter and Tumblr well before national news reports caught wind of the story.

According to a blog post by Heather Dougherty, Hitwise’s research director, it’s the first time Twitter has beaten out Digg since launch.

“A big driver of traffic to Twitter was around the US Airways plane crash in to the Hudson River last Thursday, driving many posts and updates about the situation,” noted Dougherty.

Dougherty noted that current Twitter traffic could actually be higher than Hitwise is reporting as a “significant” amount of Twitter activity is done via mobile handsets, which Hitwise does not measure.

“Although this only tells part of the story, judging by the amount of tweets about today’s Presidential election, we’ll continue to see Twitter’s traffic increase,” blogged Dougherty.

The research director also noted that more Twitter traffic is coming from users ages 25 to 34. Last year, at this time period, the age group accounted for 12 percent of traffic. The number jumped to 45 percent this month for a four-week period ending January 17.

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