Twitter beats MySpace

Microblogging service Twitter has shot past MySpace to become the third most popular social networking service - even as it attempts to distance itself from such branding.

Figures published by web watcher comScore show Twitter's unique visitor count for August hitting 96 million - a rise of 76 per cent from August 2009 - while MySpace lagged behind at a still-impressive 95 million - an embarrassing drop of 17 per cent year on year.

Despite MySpace and Twitter being aimed at very different markets - and Twitter's vice president for business and corporate development Kevin Thau claiming in a speech at the Nokia World conference earlier this year that Twitter "is not a social network" - they are often lumped together under the overall umbrella of 'social network,' and it looks like Twitter is on track to gain a significant lead in that sector.

The different capabilities of both platforms make a direct comparison difficult, but when Twitter launched to general derision - a social networking service that limited you to fewer characters than you could get in an SMS message - few could have predicted that it would one day eclipse MySpace in traffic.

Sadly, such success comes at a price - and that price is an increasing interest in the platform from the Internet's seedy underbelly, with a variety of scammers and crackers attempting to use the service for ill, leaving the company on constant alert for the next big attack.

With the launch of 'new Twitter,' the re-vamped user interface for the website, and improvements to the API for third-party applications, Twitter's success doesn't look like stopping any time soon. Whether or not you agree with the somewhat ridiculous concept of 'social networking' in general, the traffic figures are difficult to ignore: whatever Twitter wants to identify itself as, it's clearly succeeding - albeit with a few hiccoughs along the way.