Earlier this evening, along with a select few journalists, I got a chance to interact with French Minister for Digital Development, Mrs. Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who is in town to learn about latest developments in Silicon Valley and learn about the unique ecosystem that helps nurture technology startups in the Bay Area. She is quite a social media enthusiast.
She has a very active Facebook account, about 5,000 followers (supporters) and is not shy to use her Facebook soapbox to take on political detractors. And recently she signed up for Twitter, joining millions of new users that have signed up for the San Francisco-based micro-messaging service in recent months.
Thanks to incessant buzz, constant mentions by television hosts, celebrities — Twitter is the new hot thing on the web. All those media mentions boosted the number of visitors to Twitter.com 131 percent in March to 9.3 million visitors, according to Internet usage tracking service comScore. That’s 5 million more visitors than in February, comScore says. A few days ago, I emailed Twitter co-founder Biz Stone asking him to comment about how many new people were signing for the service. I have heard varied growth rates — a million new members a week to a million new members every three days. Biz politely declined to comment.
Twitter’s growth is only going to gain momentum, thanks to recent stunts such as CNN buying CNNbrk (an account with a million-odd followers) and its pointless competition with utterly useless Ashton Kutcher to become the No. 1 Twitter user. Even the normally restrained The New York Times has a bit of Twitter fever. As I said earlier, “Twitter, in fact, is not just a company — instead it has become a verb — and in the process, actually represents a certain way of doing things.”
comScore points out that Twitter has also become a vital source of content discovery. They discovered that an average Twitter user visited CNN.com twice as often as typical Internet users likely to visit CNN. Similar patterns hold for other news-oriented web sites such as NYTimes.com, AOL News and Yahoo! News.
As the buzz around Twitter escalates, I couldn’t help but notice how quickly Facebook has fallen out of media favor. Their valuation is part of an open debate. Fortune is asking the question that’s in the back of everyone’s mind: Is Facebook losing its glow? For the record, I don’t think so — I just asked the French minister to be my Facebook friend.