Eight percent of the American adults who use the internet are Twitter users, while 18% of Hispanic adults use the 140 characters social network. It is an online activity that is particularly popular with young adults, minorities, and those who live in cities. Read a related note here about Hispanic Twitter Rankings.
This are the results of the first-ever survey that examines Twitter users, done by Pew Research Center. In previous surveys, the Pew Internet Project had asked internet users whether they “used Twitter or another service to share updates about yourself or to see updates about others?”
In August 2008, 6% of internet users said “yes” to that question. In September 2010, 24% of internet users said “yes.”
The message service Twitter launched on July 15, 2006 now claims tens of millions of users worldwide. It is one of the most popular online activities among tech enthusiasts and has become a widely used tool among analysts to study the conversations and interests of users, buzz about news, products or services, and announcements by commercial, non-profit, and government organizations.
Aaron Smith, Senior Research Specialist at Pew Research Center said: “In the case of Twitter, we initially framed the question in a way we hoped would capture Twitter users and others who use the same functionality on other kinds of internet services. Thus, our status update question in eight surveys between August 2008 and September 2010 asked: Do you ever use the internet to use Twitter or another service to share updates about yourself or to see updates about others?”
Some of the groups who are notable for their relatively high levels of Twitter use include:
- Young adults: Internet users ages 18-29 are significantly more likely to use Twitter than are older adults.
- African-Americans and Latinos: Both these groups are more than twice as likely to use Twitter as are white internet users.
- Urbanites: Urban residents are roughly twice as likely to use Twitter as rural dwellers.
Women and the college-educated are also slightly more likely than average to use the service.
How offen Twitter users check for material posted by others
Pew Research Center found that Twitter users are nearly equally divided between those who check the site on a daily basis (or multiple times per day) and those who check the site infrequently or never. Just over one-third of Twitter users (36%) check for material posted by others on a daily basis or multiple times per day — this is roughly comparable with the two in five (41%) who say they check the site less than every few weeks, or never do so at all. The remaining one-quarter of users say they check the site for updates a few days each week or every few weeks.
Twitter Users Post a Wide Range of Content to the Site
The study finds that the typical user posts four of the nine different types of tweets. Overall, observations related to users’ personal or professional lives are the most popular types of updates, while location-based tweets and links to videos are the least commonly mentioned:
- 72% of Twitter users in our sample say that they post updates related to their personal life, activities or interests. A total of one-in-five Twitter users (19%) say they post personal updates once a day or more.
- 62% of those we queried said they post updates related to their work life, activities or interests, with 12% doing so on a daily basis.
- 55% of these Twitter users share links to news stories. About one in ten (12%) do this at least once a day.
- 54% of these Twitter users say they post humorous or philosophical observations about life in general, with 16% doing so on a daily basis.
- 53% of these Twitter users use Twitter to retweet material posted by others, with 18% doing so on a daily basis.
- 52% of these Twitter users send direct messages to other users, with 11% doing so on a daily basis.
- 40% use Twitter to share photos with others, with 12% going so at least once a day.
- 28% use Twitter to share videos with others. Fewer than one-in-ten Twitter users (8%) do this once a day or more.
- 24% use the service to tweet their location, with 7% of users doing so on a daily basis.
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