In the last 10 months, the microblogging community Twitter has doubled in size, increasing from 50 million tweets daily in February of 2010 to over 100 million by December. Chile has been no stranger to the incredible explosion in the network’s popularity. Today, one million Chileans contribute to Twitter, up from only 100,000 just 16 months ago in September of 2009.
The Chilean contingent on Twitter is obvious when Chilean news topics, such as Mining Minister Laurence Golborne on Jan. 19 , feature as worldwide Trending Topic (topics receiving the most comments, listed on a news ticker on Twitter’s home page). Javier Villagrán, who works with the consultancy agency Fusiona, told Mexican news site Publimetro that the general Chilean interest in current events and news is translating to Twitter.
News has always played an important part in Chilean life, with most households turning their televisions to one of the national news channels each evening. Now, Villagrán told Publimetro, Chileans “use Twitter specifically to talk about what’s happening in the country. What happens on a national level is what they talk about on the site.”
Indeed, it was one of Chile’s major news events that caused the first major spike in Twitter users in Chile. According to Jenna Dawn, the Twitter spokeswoman for Latin America, the social network saw a spike of 500 percent in Chile directly following the earthquake in 2010.
In the wake of the earthquake, says Villagrán, Chileans “realized that Twitter was more than entertainment, it is an agile medium for information and communication.”
The growth of Twitter within Chile is keeping pace with the rest of the world. The 1 million Chileans registered on Twitter today represent about six percent of the national population—roughly the same percentage as in the United States.