TWITTER is now the fastest-growing social network in the world, with almost half a billion people signing up worldwide.
Of all internet users worldwide, 36pc – an estimated 485 million - have a Twitter account.
The number of account holders who use the microblogging site at least once a month grew 40 per cent in the second half of 2012 to 288 million, according to the internet research company Global Web Index (GWI).
This figure means Twitter - which has been valued at $9bn - is growing faster than both Facebook and Google+.
In the same period Facebook grew 33.4pc to 693.5 million.
Google+ grew 27.7pc to 343 million active monthly users.
Crucially for Twitter and its advertisers, the shows that Twitter is doing a great job in driving active engagement with 59pc of account holders now active on a monthly basis, up from 50pc in the first half of 2012.
The way people are using Twitter is changing in two respects.
Firstly, it is becoming a passive source of discovery for users and secondly, users are using more as a tool, rather than a pure social service.
Only 51pc of active users claim to have posted a tweet in the past month.
This means that half the active user base is just reading, reacting or using Twitter as a source of discovery.
By Richard Holt, Telegraph.co.uk