Already enjoying strong growth in the UK, many were predicting that the service would go mainstream after getting after exposure on the Jonathan Ross comeback show last week.

Well, it seems that being discussed by Ross and Stephen Fry has had a significant impact on Twitter’s traffic.

According to this Hitwise chart, the Ross/Fry effect (@wossy and @stephenfry) was more significant than that from the Obama inauguration. The show was broadcast on 23 January: 

Twitter: The Ross/Fry effect

Data on UK searches this month for Twitter from Google Trends also paints a similar picture, with a big leap in the number of searches on 23 January and the day after, reaching a peak the day after the show:

Twitter Google searches

Hitwise stats last week showed a massive 974% increase in UK traffic to Twitter in 2008, and this rise looks set to continue as the service looks set to go mainstream.

Twitter got even more mainstream TV exposure today, as Philip Schofield (@Schofe) tweeted live as he presented This Morning, so the service may be about to receive yet another boost in traffic as a result.

This all provides more reasons for businesses to get involved on Twitter, even if they are only using it to monitor mentions of their brand on the service. Companies like Dell and Zappos already have a strong presence on the service in the US, while some UK firms are starting to dip their toes in;  Guy Stephens from Carphone Warehouse told us recently that he is looking at ways to use Twitter to improve help and support for customers.

Graham Charlton is Senior Reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.