The Hunt for Teens Who Tweet (or not)
While the subject is often debated, there is mounting evidence that the Internet community’s desire to pin the label of ‘early adopter’ for new technology advances on the youngest users may be misguided. Earlier this month we asked the question as to whether teens use Twitter and it looks like the answer is, for the most part, not so much.
The New York Times examines this area in more detail as it becomes more an more apparent that many of the users of social media skew much older. While this has been suspected for a while now there needs to be more unearthing of this phenomenon before it can be declared reality.
“The traditional early-adopter model would say that teenagers or college students are really important to adoption,” said Andrew Lipsman, director of industry analysis at comScore. Teenagers, after all, drove the early growth of the social networks Facebook, MySpace and Friendster.
Twitter, however, has proved that “a site can take off in a different demographic than you expect and become very popular,” he said. “Twitter is defying the traditional model.”
That’s a good news bad news scenario for a service like Twitter. While many want to capture the teen to mid 20’s set because of their spending influence most of these folks don’t actually have the money to spend on advertisers stuff. It’s the older folks with jobs and more mature salaries that have true buying power. As Twitter looks to make money at some point this century it is likely a comfort to know that their users are those who can buy things rather than just talk about them.
So what is the reluctance of teens to use Twitter? It appears as if its just not very cool and a classic case of TMI (too much information).
Kristen Nagy, an 18-year-old from Sparta, N.J., sends and receives 500 text messages a day. But she never uses Twitter, even though it publishes similar snippets of conversations and observations.
“I just think it’s weird and I don’t feel like everyone needs to know what I’m doing every second of my life,” she said.
Wow. Maybe the younger generation is smarter than the rest of us. Most complaints about Twitter are about the near inanity of most of the tweets and the severe narcissistic tendencies of many using the service. Honestly, some folks on Twitter could learn a lesson from an 18 year old in NJ. I guess some folks from cell phone providers could as well considering the 500 text messages a day! That’s a whole other problem in and of itself.
So what about Twitter and teens? The truth of the matter is that maybe it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.
Almost everyone under 35 uses social networks, but the growth of these networks over the last year has come from older adults, according to a report from Forrester Research issued Tuesday. Use of social networking by people aged 35 to 54 grew 60 percent in the last year.
So while Twitter apparently takes a pretty serious backseat to Facebook with the younger crowd even that is a bit muted because according to the article only 9 percent of Facebook users are teens.
So is it important to have the teen crowd on board for Twitter? Probably not. As evidenced by this point of view there may be some new users as teens grow out of those teenage things.
“It seems more, like, professional, and not something that a teenager would do,” said 16-year-old Miranda Grazier. “I think I might join when I’m older.”
So what are your thoughts? Should it even matter to Twitter if teens don’t tweet?