Twitter Passes NYT, WSJ in Unique Visitors

Where do you get your news from? While there’s a lot of reasons to visit Twitter online, it’s essentially a place to learn about what’s going on in your world. For the first time last month, the site saw more unique visitors than the websites of both the New York Times and the Wall St. Journal.

Tameka Kee noticed the numbers via traffic analysts and posted about them briefly on PaidContent today. Traffic numbers are fickle but Compete competitor Quantcast puts Twitter even further in the lead.

Kee attributes the surge to last month’s Oprah, Ashton, CNN lovefest for Twitter. We suspect that is just one of a number of factors. Twitter is also really useful, fun and captivating.

Of course Facebook is much, much bigger – but for some reason non-users tend to take Facebook more seriously than Twitter. It’s probably the Harvard connection and the similarity with MySpace. Twitter is a different animal. It’s more interesting.

And now it’s more visited online than the New York Times and Wall St. Journal sites. That’s pretty incredible. Of course Twitter doesn’t create original content. Does it?

We found the PaidContent post via NY Times designer Jeremy Zilar (on Twitter) who was passing it along from the Twitter account of Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab. The Lab posted a video tour of the New York Times R&D lab this morning, where the very forward-looking newspaper giant is exploring ways to deliver its content to new devices, to satisfy advertisers in a changed media world, and to aim (presumably) not lose to Twitter as the news outlet of the future.

The Times is watching Twitter closely. The Twitter API (Application Programming Interface) has been key to Twitter’s success. The NYT has released a bevy of great APIs of its own. Tomorrow the company will announce a new up-to-the-minute view of all its stories called Timeswire, linked to from the front page of the site. PR for that product said “Think Twitter & Facebook redesign.” That product is built on top of the company’s newswire API. At a news room strategy meeting yesterday the company said it “believes [it] can create significant revenue streams from APIs.” That could well be the future of news.

Disclosure: ReadWriteWeb is a syndication partner of the New York Times. We also use Twitter a lot to do our jobs. Twitter-reporter picture by Scott Macdonald, originally for our post How We Use Twitter For Journalism.

You can find ReadWriteWeb on Twitter, as well as the entire RWW Team: Marshall Kirkpatrick, Bernard Lunn, Alex Iskold, Sarah Perez, Frederic Lardinois, Rick Turoczy, Sean Ammirati, Lidija Davis and Jolie Odell.

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