Twitter Local Trends: What's the tweet in your area?

New Twitter feature that shows its users the hot topics in their geographic area

People logging on to their Twitter accounts this morning found a new feature waiting for them.

The micro-blogging site had disclosed last night that the new Local Trends feature would be added to the site today. It's designed to keep Twitter users up to date with the hottest topics being Twittered in a specific geographic location.

"Local Trends will allow you to learn more about the nuances in our world and discover even more relevant topics that might matter to you," wrote Twitter's Jenna Dawn on the company's blog site. "The big events that come up around the world will always become a global conversation, but what about the big events that only happen in your world that only matter to those around you? Or the slight differences in the way Californians perceive an event, like Obama's election victory, versus those Sao Paulo, Brazil?"

Right now, there aren't many locations -- users initially have only 13 cities and six countries around the world to choose from.

Twitter may need such new to keep its users engaged on the site. RJMetrics, Inc. yesterday released a study showing that the number of Twitter users has climbed to a lofty 75 million, but that the growth rate of new users is slowing. The study also found that a lot of current Twitterers are inactive.

According to the findings, only 17% of all Twitter accounts Twittered last month. That's down from more than 70% in early 2007 when Twitter was a fledgling company with far, far fewer users.

The report said that Twitter has between 10 million and 15 million active tweeters.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, send e-mail to sgaudin@computerworld.com or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed .

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