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August 20th, 2009

‘London tops the Twitter League’ says Twitter head

Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter, was interviewed on BBC2’s Newsnight last week, and it was packed with interesting Twitter facts.

First of, he confirmed that there were more Twitterers in London than any other city in the world, including hotspots such as San Francisco and New York.

“We have definitely noticed the UK has exploded for us recently. London is our top Twitter using city as of today and the UK is second only to the US in numbers of twitter users,” said Williams.

He was also asked whether Twitter was only good for finding out what celebrities are doing.

“That is not what our data shows. Famous people are certainly popular on twitter, but there is a lot of friend communication that goes on Twitter which is mixed in with news, celebrity, business, you name it.”

As we’ve reported previously, one problem with social media services such as Twitter is that accounts are opened in the name of celebrities, without the endorsement – or even the knowledge – of those celebrities. This means that not only do users end up following fake accounts in the belief that they are in touch with their heroes, but that celebrities are attributed with comments that have nothing to do with them.

Williams said that they were in a process of verifying the accounts of many of its famous users to try and stamp out this process.

“If you look at Demi Moore’s real account, her user name is @mrskutcher, you’ll see a verified account badge. We actually do verify known entities and we go through some manual work to verify them for users so there is less chance of impersonation. In Demi’s case we talked to her personally.

“Demi… and a lot of Hollywood folks have taken to Twitter to connect with fans and have their own voice. It is not mediated through the normal outlets which has been their own representation for years.

“They can speak to people directly and interact with them and I think a lot of people find that very powerful,” he said.

Williams was also asked what impact Twitter was having on journalism. In many cases – such as the Iran election – people inside news events have been able to carry the story of that news event. And journalists themselves are heavy users of Twitter, using it to drive awareness and traffic of their work.

“[Twitter] is not necessarily journalism, certainly in the classic case, but it does enable people to report events as they’re happening. As we just saw in Iran people on the streets [were] reporting what was going on.

“It was news-worthy content people were tweeting, there is a lot of commentary about what is going on, but it doesn’t take the place of journalists of news because you still need analysis and you still need verification of this information, but it adds another layers to the information eco system.”

Its certainly true that we are all still learning how Twitter can help us do what we do, and add extra colour our online experience. For many website builders, Twitter is all about building a community around your website, and driving traffic to that website. The more people who adopt Twitter, the easier we’re going to find out how to do that. Our advice is to get into Twitter now, and try and find out how it can help you and your website. To help you, here’s some links to some Twitter posts we’ve made recently.

Here’s a video tutorial on how to send updates to Twitter from your WebEden website.

Here’s an idea that might make Twitter worthwhile for businesses.

Here’s news about Twitter 101, Twitter’s very own guide on how to use Twitter to market your business.

Here’s a guest blog on how to spot spam on Twitter, and another guide to how to get rid of spam on Twitter.

And finally, here’s a post on how you can (or can’t) measure the success of your Twitter campaign.

Any comments about Twitter, please leave them below.

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