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Twitter tops 10 million UK users

Twitter now has more than 10million users in the UK, the social networking site has revealed.

Of the site’s 140million users, 10million are from the UK, which is thought to be the fourth-largest country for users in the world, behind the US, Brazil and Japan.

Top tweeter Stephen Fry has more than 4.2 million followers on the social networking site.

The company also revealed that 80% of UK users access the site through their mobile phone – a rate that is 45% higher than the world average – showing the popularity of the site to Britons on the go.

“Growth recently has been very sharp and the biggest Twitter spike we have seen was after the riots last year,” Kate Bussmann, social media consultant and author of ‘A Twitter Year: 365 Days in 140 Characters’, told Yahoo! News.

“People are increasingly turning to Twitter first to get their news and this was clearly seen in the riots. It was citizen reporting that let people know what was going on outside their front doors and that drove a lot of people to sign up to the site.

“In the UK we spend a lot of time indoors watching TV or in pubs watching football and both are massive drivers of Twitter use here,” she added. “We love to tweet while watching TV, watching X-Factor while Twitter is on so we can see what people are saying.”

ITV 2 programme 'The Only Way is Essex' uses hashtags to drive Twitter traffic.

One of the key attributes of the social network allows you to group comments about certain topics together, by adding the # symbol to a keyword. This process, known as “hashtagging”, allows users to see what everyone else is writing about certain topics and join the conversation themselves.

Broadcasters have taken advantage of the popularity of the social network, adding hashtags to TV show credits. ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, ‘Have I got News For You’, ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ and ‘The Only Way is Essex’ are just a sample of this, with all three forming common Twitter trending topics during their prime-time slots.

“What you don’t get on Facebook is this ongoing dialogue between lots and lots of people and TV companies are clued into this now,” Ms Bussmann said. “One thing ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ is doing is putting hashtags up as people are still performing, promoting within their own show hashtag. By doing this they are creating mini conversations, then tracking it all to see how they are doing.”

Manchester City fans joined in on the hashtag, '#together', seen here on the side of the team bus.

The technique for driving Twitter conversation has also been adopted by political campaigns, music festivals and sporting events, with the Manchester City FC bus showing the hashtag “#together” during the team’s Premiership celebrations on Monday.

“A lot of people sign up and don’t really get it, there is a tipping point of following around 25 people when it becomes interesting,” Ms Bussmann added. “In the future Twitter is looking to break down this barrier as it is problem.”

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