Twitter has grown in legend and lore as of late. It is being used by Shaquille O’Neal, Ashton and Mrs. Kutcher, big business like Dell and Southwest Airlines and President Obama. You can’t seem to turn around without bumping into someone either blubbering over the importance of Twitter or another person bemoaning the decline and fall of Western civilization as a result of it. One thing is for sure, people read, write and talk about it a lot and as the talk grows so does the usage.
A look at the age demographics of Twitter users may be a surprise to some.
A Reuters blog post takes a look at this pattern and discusses the move toward older demographics using social media in general more.
Why this is a surprise to many is a surprise to me. Most users of social media are being attracted by the business applications of social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. Many of the youngest people who have grown up squarely in the Internet Age are probably not that excited about these things anymore simply because their parents are now involved! I know that when I talk to my kids about something that they think is cool it immediately takes a lot of the cool out of it for them. Their logic is that it can’t be that cool if Dad is into it (welcome to my life).
Another driver for this business application by an older demographic is the economy. Twitter probably benefits greatly from the fact that everyone is scrambling to survive in this economic mess. As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. Since it doesn’t cost anything other than time to be on these social media outlets and people don’t need to leave their house or office to do it the option becomes more attractive particularly to those who have to pay the bills.
Now, did the people at Twitter predict this type of usage pattern from the start? They will say yes I suppose but who knows. The reality of social media though is that no one can truly predict how any one avenue will be adopted by any particular group. It’s the newness and the Wild West aspect of all of this that keeps it interesting.
As things are shaping up though it appears that the money for social media will ultimately be from those who want to apply it for commercial use and not for those who want to simply share the incredibly ridiculous and inane details of their otherwise empty lives. Was that too harsh?