Posted August 27, 2009 1:38 pm by with 9 comments

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twitter-birdYesterday, we went in search of Twittering teens, after the NYT couldn’t find any. Time and again we’ve heard statistics tell us that teens don’t tweet—or do they?

The Silicon Alley Insider took a look at comScore’s recent numbers and charted them. The chart says it “measures unique visitors relative to their presence on the Web as a whole”—meaning that if 16% of Internet users are teens, and 16% of Twitter users are teens, they’d be at 100.
For July, teens (well, teens and young adults) are at 120—meaning there is a higher percentage of Twitter users that are teens than Internet users that are teens. Also note that the 12-24 bracket is the only one on an upward trend since June.

But really, we kind of already knew this. When we looked at the much-hyped “Teens don’t tweet!” headlines three weeks ago, we saw yet another lie-with-statistics and took it to task. The Nielsen company issued a chart that said only 16% of those aged 2 to 24 tweeted, while 64% of those aged 25 to 54 tweeted. But:

But the chart on the other hand looks a little misleading. Let’s start with the age bands—technically, you’re supposed to be 13 to use Twitter (doubtful that they can enforce the TOS, but, hey, let’s humor them). If we assume (probably incorrectly, but that’s kind of moot) that the distribution in the 25-54 range is roughly equal and readjust the age banding accordingly, then we get:

lie with statistics

Yes, teens and young adults are still slightly underrepresented. But remember this leaves out entirely everyone using phones to Tweet—and if I had to guess, I’d say that the same age group was slightly overrepresented on mobile usage.

So yes, maybe teens fear the publicity of Twitter. Maybe they prefer texting. (My 17 year old sister does.) But let’s get real: teens are on Twitter, just like they are on the Internet.

What do you think? Are teens on Twitter, or are we all just boggled by numbers?

  • You asked for teens and I didn’t respond, because my daughters tweet but they are 11 and 12 (thus TWEEN TWEETERS?). They follow a lot of teen celebrities, who I honestly believe are doing their own tweeting if you look at the twitpics and see some of the dumb comments they make. (and I know this because I follow my kids Twitter accounts carefully for protection.)

  • Tweeting Teens?

    Does a bear sh** in the woods?

    Yes teens tweet, albeit less than adults, because they don’t use social media the same way as Mom or Grandpa. Most teens I know aren’t up on the raw power of free distribution and community building — they just want to get into college, meet their future boyfriend/girlfriend, and text their little hearts out.

    Give that analysis, expect a massive influx of the teen contingent once they realize networking and people meeting is absolutely essential in their future jobs and lives. Should be a wild ride!
    .-= Social Media Commando´s last blog ..Social Currency Defined =-.

  • Oh, oh. That sure looks like Twitter is about to be run over by the crowd bailing out from MySpace.
    .-= David Leonhardt´s last blog ..Want a link on a throw-away domain? =-.

  • Yes, teen’s twitter. But in my experience they twitter in the style of facebook status updates, in fact some people who aren’t teens (though are under 24) actually just copy and paste their facebook status into their twitter.
    I think a good second stage to this research, would be what to teens twitter about? Or how do they twitter.
    I’ve noticed that those 35+ (generalising slightly here) tend to twitter links to articles and blogs etc, and images/photographs (whether candid, paparrazi or fabricated), whereas a good friend of mine (<24) gives regular updates on how her day before/at/after work has gone.
    .-= Luci´s last blog ..Good Link Building Techniques Video – Search Tutorial =-.

  • Amanda

    There is a very clear flaw in your study. Who are you calling teens? Age 12-24?
    That is a very diverse age group and I think comparing the habits of a 13 year old with that of a 23 year old is ludicrous.

    Perhaps teens don’t tweet. Teens are on facebook, myspace – but twitter? I dont think so. They get everything they need from the other social networks and as Lucy mentions the type of sharing that happens on Twitter is quite lost on teens. They dont want to read blogs and articles shared, they want to post photos and comments about what happened at the party last night…

    Ages 20-24 is a whole other ballgame.

  • It’s not my study. We’ve noted the fact that the age span of 12 to 24 encompasses young adults as well as teenagers, but we have to work with the data we’re given.

  • According to you, wich one is better now, twitter or facebook?

  • Rak

    Most of the teenagers I know tend to use Facebook over Twitter.

  • I am rather shocked by the graph showing people from 2-11, surely people between this age should not hae access to sites like that, that graph cannot be right surely.