Basketball accelerates Twitter growth

Twitter growth skyrocketsThe graph to the right is Alexa.com’s look at traffic to the Twitter website over the last six months. The stunning spike at the end is largely due to publicity about big-time mainstream celebrities, which in turn, is fueling growth for Twitter.

Basketball and Twitter seem to be generating the most heat right now. There was Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s $25,000 NBA fine for twittering criticism of NBA referees after an altercation between Denver Nuggets player J. R. Smith and Mavs player Antoine Wright.

First post (7:25 p . m . , March 27):

how do they not call a tech on JR Smith for coming off the bench to taunt our player on the ground ?

Second post (10 minutes later):

scary part of that play: Same crew chief from game in Denver where they missed call – last play of the game & 1st JRSmith/Wright issue.

Third post (over the weekend):

just found out got fined25k by nba.) nice

Fourth post (over the weekend):

can’t say no one makes money from twitter now. the nba does )

Fifth post (yesterday):

how much fun would it be if it could twitter whatever i wanted during mavs game. Fun, but expensive :).

Charlie Villanueva of the Milwaukee Bucks tweeted a message during halftime of a game against the Boston Celtics. His coach wasn’t happy. Shaquille O’Neal tweets during halftime, and this weekend’s nationally-televised game between the Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns included twitter instructions by announcers, because O’Neal tweeted about Cuban and Cuban tweeted about O’Neal.

Then there’s the NCAA basketball tournaments. 7-3 UConn center Hasheem Thabeet sent out a tweet to UConn fans following him that he had failed a drug test and was out for the Final Four. The April Fool’s message followed soon after, but not soon enough to prevent a brief panic.

At this weekend’s NCAA Women’s Final Four, announcers again gave a definition of Twitter and a link to promote Rebecca Lobo’s Twittering from behind the UConn bench.

All of this publicity is going to further spread Twitter, and news organizations had better be paying attention.

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