Twitter Experiences "Highest-Usage" Day, But Debate Rages On

-Twitter Icon-As of late, many people have wondered whether Twitter is actually growing.

According to a post by TechCrunch last week, Twitter recently experienced their “highest-usage” day ever. A tweet by Evan Williams, CEO of Twitter, first reported the news. The most important thing to note with the timing of the traffic spike is that there were not any major events that could have significantly impacted the tweet volume or the traffic.

According to Hitwise, a website used to track market share, Twitter ranked fifth among all social networking sites in the category over the past week, ranked by visits. Facebook, MySpace and YouTube – the top three over the past week in visits – account for 79.85% of the total market share. Fourth and fifth place Tagged and Twitter account for less than three percent combined.

TechCrunch attributes the growth to Twitter user loyalty as well as Twitter API usage. According to TwitStat.com, 20.70% of users update from the web (statistics taken from today, January 18, 2010). That means that just under 80% of users update from third-party clients, and it obviously has a tremendous impact on their traffic numbers. Since a significant amount of Twitter tweets are sent from mobile phones and third-party clients, it will continue to be fairly difficult to accurately gauge Twitter’s growth.

A brief look at these statistics shows that it is highly likely that Twitter is continuing to grow. If we assume that 80% of updates are not accounted for, then Twitter could be growing at a fairly high rate that people are failing to acknowledge.

-Twitter Ecosystem Chart-

The above graph, originally posted by John Borthwick, estimates the Twitter ecosystem to drive about three times the amount of traffic as Twitter’s web interface. After John reviewed his past-30-days analytics from bit.ly, he found that only about 10,000 of the 39,000 total clicks came from Twitter’s web interface, leaving a high number coming from third-party applications.

What are your thoughts on the way Twitter’s traffic is trending?