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Twitter now has 100 million users

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During a “state of the union” meeting this morning at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, CEO Dick Costolo revealed, for the first time ever, that the service currently has 100 million active users, and receives 400 million pageviews per month, up from about 250 million in January of this year.

In addition, Costolo said that half of Twitter’s users log on ever day, but only 60 percent actually publish tweets. The remainder simply read others’ tweets. Some never even login, even if they have an account.

“The 400 million monthly uniques number shows that people are getting value out of Twitter without logging in,” said Costolo.

Costolo said that the company is working to turn passive Twitter users into active ones, as much as possible.

Approximately 55 percent of Twitter users log on through a mobile device, which is about 40 percent up from the previous quarter, Costolo said. And the number of tweets published is averaging about 1 billion per week.

Twitter’s infrastructure is holding up well to the rising tide of users, Costolo pointed out. The service saw its largest traffic day ever a few Sundays ago, with 8,900 tweets published every second. The surge was primarily due to a culmination of particularly popular topics, including Hurricane Irene, Beyonce’s pregnancy and a win by Manchester United, all hitting at once.

When asked how the company plans to combat increased competition from the likes of Google+, Costolo said Twitter plans to “simplify the product even further” and “edit out” any excess features and functions.

In response to a question about whether social network users should be required to use their real names — a stipulation of both Facebook and Google+, Costolo had a simple answer. “We’re not wedded to pseudonyms,” he said, “we’re wedded to letting people use the service in the way they see fit.”

In a blog post, Twitter also boasted some interesting statistics about who uses its service:

Leaders. Thirty-five global heads of state use Twitter as a primary way to communicate with their constituencies, from @JuliaGillard in Australia to Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, @CFKArgentina. In the United States, frequent Tweeters include every member of the Cabinet, 84 percent of state governors, and every major candidate for President. City leaders, like Mayors @CoryBooker of Newark and @MayorOfLondon among many more, share local news. More than 40 percent of the top global religious leaders are on Twitter, including @DalaiLama and the Pope, who sent his first Tweet from @news_va_en in June.

Athletes. Many US professional sports players are active on Twitter, including two-thirds of the NBA. Every team in the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS tweets, as do cricket players in India, European football stars and many other celebrated athletes around the world. Fans and commentators join in for some of the most colorful conversations on Twitter.

Humanitarians. Additionally, over 99 percent of America’s top 200 non-profits are on Twitter. Recently, in response to Hurricane Irene, @Fema created a special list of accounts to follow for the most up-to-date and official information, while @redcross signed up lists of official volunteers to assist in four-hour shifts to disseminate the latest information to those affected by the storm.

Entertainers. Eighty-seven percent of Billboard’s Top 100 musicians of 2010 are active on Twitter, connecting with fans to engage their audiences. Each of the top 50 Nielsen-rated TV shows are represented by a lead actor on Twitter. And who doesn’t love a daily dose of hilarity from their favorite comedian? Both new talent like @MindyKaling and @AzizAnsari and seasoned pros like @SteveMartinToGo and @ConanOBrien keep us laughing.

Reporters. Major newsrooms from @AJEnglish to @WashingtonPost actively use Twitter to supplement their reporting efforts. Reporters share stories and photos from the front lines, like New York Times reporter Brian Stelter’s on-the-ground coverage of the devastating tornado that hit Joplin, MO in May. Ordinary citizens break news and give us a view we might otherwise miss, like the now-famous Space Shuttle image that was retweeted over 2,300 times, and the first photo of the US Airways plane that landed in the Hudson River in 2009.

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