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US Airways Crash Boosts Twitter

Microbloggers on the "miracle on the Hudson" push site past rival Digg.
The amazing landing a US Airways pilot executed in the Hudson River last week wasn't just good news for the 155 people who survived the accident without severe injuries. It was also good news for Twitter.

Users sending, and searching for, tweets and photos about the plane's crash landing helped push the site's traffic to a new high, according to Hitwise.

Twitter's market share of Internet traffic jumped during the tragedy, helping the site gain a larger share than Digg for the first time since the company launched in July 2006, Hitwise said. As a result, Twitter ranked 84th on a list of computer and Internet sites drawing the most traffic last week. Digg fell from 84th to 85th.

Twitter gains more of its share of Internet traffic from social networking sites than Digg, which draws much of its traffic from Google, according to Hitwise. That's largely because of applications integrating Twitter with social networking sites, Hitwise said. Much of Twitter's traffic also comes from mobile devices and iPhone applications help drive that traffic, which isn't tallied in the Hitwise rankings.

The percentage of Internet users between the ages of 25 and 34 who visited Twitter increased to 45% for the four weeks ending Jan. 17. That's up from the same period last year, when just 12% of Twitter's traffic came from that age group, Hitwise found.

The company predicted that Twitter's traffic and share of Internet visits would continue to grow this week as Barack Obama began his tenure as the 44th president of the United States.

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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer