Updated: Twitter to deliver "several billion tweets" an hour next year

[Updated to include Twitter's comment.]

In a note in the U.K.’s Times of London over the weekend, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone revealed some impressive stats for next year. The company will handle 1 billion search queries a day and deliver “several billion tweets” an hour in 2010. He also said that by the time the Iranian elections took place last June, the number of Twitter accounts had grown tenfold in a single year.

Handling several billion tweets an hour is enormous if you consider that there have been just over 7 billion tweets total so far over the company’s three year history. Users wrote an estimated 27 million tweets a day last month, according to a study from Pingdom. (Update: Twitter clarified the statistic for us and said it’s the number of tweets delivered every hour, not the number authored. So if you have 1,000 followers and you tweeted once, that would be counted 1,000 times in that statistic.)

Still, if you consider that there’s anywhere between 1 and 1.5 million tweets authored an hour, delivering at least 1 billion tweets would mean you’d have to reach between roughly 650 to 1000 followers a person. That’s still significantly larger than any of the stats that have been reported in the last year. The company said in June that the average user had 126 followers.

Some of Twitter’s growth can be chalked up to new accounts, as the company expands overseas with mobile deals in countries like India, Australia and Indonesia. Some of it may be because people will tweet more as they get comfortable with the service. As users get more followers, they tend to tweet more every day. For example, Twitter users with more than 1,000 followers tweet six times a day on average compared with those who have more than 1,750 followers. They tweet 10 times a day, according to Sysomos.

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