Posted May 31, 2009 9:00 pm by with 26 comments

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These two charts say it all really:

Of the 22% that do use Twitter:

  • 85 percent follow friends
  • 54 percent follow celebrities
  • 29 percent follow family
  • 29 percent follow companies

Not much for brands to cheer about, but keep your chin-up, you have the same attention as Gen Y’s parents. πŸ˜‰

What do you think? I would have thought that more than 22% would be on Twitter, you?

Get the full study details from PMN.

  • CT

    First, that 99% figure is fairly meaningless without refinement: How active are they on those sites? How long have they been on them? etc.

    And I'm not at all surprised with the low Twitter representation. Twitter is more straight-line communication than expression — no pics or other media, limited hyperlinking. Doesn't fulfill youngsters' idea of a Web experience.

    • Yeah, just highlights how most studies seriously lack in refinement. If the number were 67%, we likely wouldn't question it, even though it needs just as much questioning as the 99% figure.

  • I am not very surprised at the figures honestly. Twitter although it has gotten the lion share of attention is a rather restrictive bland and boring site. Those on twitter not concerned with 'growing their followers' or getting out a message to the masses have little reason to like it. I have had an account for over 2 years now and to be honest the first year I hated it, never logged in and only posted via apps with next to no conversation. Not until you get into the hundreds does twitter become interesting, not until your in the thousands does twitter become more than an overly restrictive instant messenger.

    Most people between 18 and 24 are only concerned with school parties and friends in the social sphere. The few who use social media beyond that are mainly concerned with jobs. Hence twitter is not a good option. Every college kids [almost anyway] will have a facebook page and most will have a myspace. There you can find your friends and share all your 'stuff' all in one place. On twitter it takes lots of work to even find people you know so it becomes a small platform to talk in your own circles or a limited replacement for catching new and gossip.

    Twitter may be the 'big dog' in the media but they have a vested interest in this type of communication. Business is in the same spot, Twitter is the only safe public format for the avg person to talk direct with companies or stars. They have reason to make sure twitter is known and used but have virtually no impact in the 18-24yr old market, let alone the sectors below. Today's 12-18 year old person may not have a credit card but they will be the future customers and makers of what the web becomes. The 'know it all' syndrome we claim all teenagers have carries over as we think we become older and wiser. Today's youth lead their parents friends and family on the web many even help with product purchase and price comparisons. We ignore the true customer by accident to often.

    Twitter will have to change how it works greatly if they want to remain a real player in the 'new web' just being the first to use realtime information wont secure them in the long haul. Everyone is or will do it themselves and most will do it better. Just my POV but hey, I could be right πŸ˜‰ Either way it's nice to see a good pie chart with some research behind it.

    • Some interesting observations, thanks for sharing!

    • you are absolutely right. I am one of the 22% who is on twitter, and I literally get picked on by my peers for it.

      Of course, I'm running a business, and have a need for good connections with people. My friends, they do not.

  • Sarah

    I'm not surprised at all. I have spent the last 3 months researching Twitter for a class, and when I gave the presentation I asked people to join twitter so that they could tweet during my presentation using a hashtag. I used to allow them to see their tweets and interact with each other while I was speaking. Out of 15 students in the class, I was the only person using Twitter, and I attend a university in silicon valley where most students are fairly tech oriented.

    • Wow! So I'm guessing Facebook is still the social network of choice?

      • Sarah

        Exactly!! Although my classmates had so much fun tweeting during my presentation that they said they would consider continuing. Most students I've talked to say that they “don't get Twitter.”

  • Actually I'm not surprised. I don't think they see the point of it. They may change as the value of twitter becomes more clearly articulated. Twitter isn't seen as a tool but a weird toy.

  • Like others, I'm not surprised. This data reinforces other studies I've seen. I'll go further and suggest the 22% who use Twitter are also on LinkedIn, as I see a commonality between the two.

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  • Seems about right – I've never heard a young person talking about twitter. It seems like it's more older folks; people that aren't out socializing as much as they did when they were younger. People with time on their hands to sit around and be online. I can't see twitter lasting too long – I've been on it for a few months and it's still not fun – I'll keep trying though πŸ™‚

    I guess it's fun for you celebrities

    Facebook has staying power and many more features…it's got something for everyone.

    Teenagers use text messages, which work great.

  • I think you are right Andy, because the passive Twitter audience people who don’t actually tweet, hence accounting for the difference between traffic and users – will likely continue to grow, much in the way that blogs have over the past decade.People will visit the Twitter profiles of friends, family, or their favorite celebrities, and access that information in different ways, whether it’s through clients or portals that attempt to aggregate it.

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  • I was thinking about this a while back. I think it's got to do with what goes on on Twitter. Those statistics you gave about the 22% that do use Twitter confirm something I wrote a few weeks ago suggesting that Twitter may not be the place for Gen Y because it seems to mostly be about shared interests and communities of practice… something that developmentally, Generation Y aren't interested in yet.

  • It's mostly those into internet business who are going to use twitter, that's what I've noticed

  • For a while now I would always see an older crowd using Twitter but I am seeing much more of a younger generation starting get envolved.

  • Desiree

    This is an interesting post as I spoke with a Gen Y last week and she said she didn't get Twitter either. I think that Twitter is like being able to buy a fully loaded car (say Facebook) and then you try and drive a Flintstone car…(where's the wheels? What! I have to use my feet?!)

    Those of use in our 30s have seen the internet and its tools evolve and so IM/chat etc is not much different from Twitter which has the added community element.

    However, why would a Gen Y want to use Twitter when they have been communicating the lives online via fourplay: image, audio, video and text? Remember, Twitter is a (mini) blog, not a social network and therefore I'm sure many Gen Y blog on their social profile with some exceptions.

  • Twitter is only really “cool” if you know people who you’re following ahead of time. It’s not much of a place to get noticed, it’s more of a place where you can stay noticed. Facebook, myspace etc. are more “fun”, and you’ll get more friends and followers from the start.

  • Kate

    I think many people in this age group feel as if they have no use for Twitter. From my experience, my friends enjoy Facebook and Myspace because it is so easy to “stalk” one another ie check out photos, status messages, wall posts, etc. Most of them have only heard of Twitter because of celebrities and would never even think of utilizing it for business, personal branding, etc.

  • I have asked numerous people who frequent facebook and myspace about twitter. They basically all say the same thing as far as twitter doesn’t do anything they can’t do on the other social networks already and you cannot put pictures into a profile etc. I guess some people think it is fun but really I wonder how many internet marketers would use it if the traffic wasn’t so great from it. To me twitter is a must use right now for companies but is probably just a trend.

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  • Nice information. Thanks to share such statistics. I found many helpful information about marketing in this blog.

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