Twitter's Top 10 Celebrities Include Obama, Armstrong

Twitter has grown exponentially since its creation, with the microblogging service now hosting roughly 8 million unique users - up from 1 million in 2008. Given such popularity, it's almost inevitable that celebrities and luminaries would utilize it as a way of solidifying their brand and expanding their base of support.

Twitter has grown to millions of users since it launched in 2006, with some posting 140-character microbloggings, or "tweets," several times per day. Twitter itself is even becoming more incorporated into the enterprise, with adding the site to its Service Cloud solution and Microsoft sponsoring a site, ExecTweets, as part of its "It's Everybody's Business" campaign.

In March 2009, Twitter also added a search feature to its users' main page that some pundits felt would put the microblogging site into a more directly competitive alignment with Facebook and Google. By allowing users to see, via a "Trends" menu, which topics are currently generating the most online traffic, Twitter became a more robust tool for the enterprise and small businesses looking to monitor the buzz about particular products within the marketplace.

Given its increased search capability, it's little wonder that rumors started about Google's possible interest in acquiring Twitter. The blog TechCrunch reported in early April 2009 that the two companies were indeed in talks, and pundits suggested that such a purchase would possibly put Google in a much stronger position in its competition against Microsoft and Yahoo.

For his part, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone volunteered in a blog posting that his company was in "discussions" with other entities "on a variety of subjects" but that the current focus of Twitter was on building "a profitable, independent company and we're just getting started."

As a company, Twitter has been expanding rapidly; it now has 30 employees in San Francisco and reportedly seeks additional staff.

With such immense popularity, it's no surprise that luminaries ranging from Lance Armstrong to Al Gore would see Twitter as an increasingly important part of extending their personal brand to the world at large. Plus, famous Twitter users generally don't need to worry about their "tweets" getting them fired from their job, unlike certain IT employees.

There has been controversy, though, about whether many celebrities on Twitter are actually posting the "tweets" themselves or are leaving that part to assistants. Further issues have erupted with people setting up fake accounts under a celebrity name and then proceeding to microblog as, for example, "Christopher Walken."