Twitter on pace to reach…200 million users by 2011

There are now 175 million users on Twitter, ranging from senior foreign diplomats to bored 13-year-old teenagers. It’s because the service is able to reach across that swath of the global population that the site should exceed 200 million in just the next two months.

On average this year, the microblogging service has been growing at a rate of hundreds of thousands of users every day. Every single day. In fact, that 175 million number – let’s compare it to last year. At the end of 2009, there were 58 million Twitter users. And at the time that sounded like a lot.

The more important thing to note, though, is that user growth rate is itself growing. Instead of a 300,000-per-day level of new users, Twitter is now averaging 15 million per month, or around 500,000 each and every day.

At that rate, notes the New York Times, the number of registered Twitter users will eclipse 200 million by the end of the year. That’s the equivalent of two-thirds of the entire US population. Hardly any other online community comes close, even those that have been around for 10 or 20 years.

The tiny, feature-light blog service has few bells and whistles, but its reach is extraordinary. Its simplistic approach to sharing thoughts and news to other people on the Internet has caught on to the point where every respectable company has an official account, government agencies are using it to connect with constituents, and celebrities log on to share their latest gossip.

Even as Facebook continues to steal away most people’s free time, there’s still apparently a whole lot of value in a site where the only restriction is a 140-character per-post limit.