The Pew Internet and American Life Project just released a study “Twitter and Status Updating, Fall 2009” two days ago (October 21, 2009). The report provides interesting information about social network users. Twitter traffic exploded over the last year, going from about 2 million unique visitors per month in December 2008 to over 17 million in May 2009. According to the study, 19% of internet users use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves, or to see updates about others. This represents a significant increase in its earlier finding in April 2009 when just 11% of internet users were using a status-update service. Additionally, the study points out that the growth of Twitter is being driven by three groups of internet users: “social network Web site users, those who connect to the Internet via mobile devices, and younger Internet users–those under age 44.”
It is interesting to learn that whether or not a user is on other social networks determines their willingness to use a service like Twitter. The Pew study found that internet users who use social network sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, or MySpace are more likely to use Twitter or another status updating service. Thirty-five percent of internet users who have profiles on MySpace, Facebook, or LinkedIn also have profiles on Twitter. The study also found that just 6% of internet users who do not use these social networks are on Twitter.
According to the Pew study, wireless access is an independent factor in predicting whether someone uses Twitter or another status update service. Fifty-four percent of internet users have a wireless connection to the Web in September 2009. Of this group, 25% use Twitter or another status-update service, up from 14% wireless users in December 2009. However, only 8% of internet users who rely exclusively on tethered access use Twitter or another service, up from 6% in December 2008. Perhaps, the mobile Web users are more likely to tweet since they have wireless access.
In addition, the study indicated that the more Web-connected devices a user has, the more likely they are to tweet. Thirty-nine percent of Internet users with four or more Internet-connected devices (such as a laptop, cell phone, game console, or Kindle) use Twitter, compared to 28% of Internet users with three devices, 19 percent of Internet users with two devices, and 10 percent of Internet users with one device.
The Pew study showed that young people flock to Twitter. Internet users in age between 18 and 44 are more likely than older users to use Twitter or another status update service. According to the study, the median age of a Twitter user is 31 and has remained stable over the past year. Both MySpace and LinkedIn have gotten younger users. The median age for MySpace is now 26, down from 27 in May 2008 and the median age for LinkedIn is now 39, down from 40. However, Facebook users are getting older, upping its median age to 33, from 26 in May 2008.
Do you use any social networks? Do you own any mobile Web-connected devices? How do you fit into the Pew study? Do you agree with the results mentioned in this report? Please feel free to share your comments here.