Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why Adults Have Fed Twitter’s Growth

August 26, 2009: summarized from The New York Times -- The tech industry has been perplexed by the fact that Twitter has grown extraordinarily quickly even though young people do not tweet nearly as much as their elders do.

Perhaps the most interesting phenomenon to observe is not what teenagers are not doing, but what adults are doing.

A report on the reach of social technologies, published Tuesday by Forrester Research, said that in the last year, young people almost universally used social media. (Only 3 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds do not use social tools online.) These people have been using social media for a long time, though, and they are not driving its growth.

More intriguing is a look at what older adults are doing online. According to Forrester, use of social media among those 35 to 54 jumped 60 percent in the last year. Half of online adults in the United States interact on social networks and more than three-fourths used social media in the last month.

Most of the adults online regularly visit sites with user-generated content, like blogs and Google’s YouTube, Forrester found. Only a quarter actually post stories or upload video, though that is growing with easy-to-use online tools. The number of adults who joined social networks last year grew almost 50 percent from the year before. Today, only 18 percent of online adults do not use social tools, down from 25 percent last year.

There are many reasons that teenagers use Twitter less than adults do, including fundamental differences between what teenagers and adults want online and between Twitter and other sites like Facebook. (I take a deeper look at these reasons in a story in Wednesday’s paper).

But one big reason for the disparity is simple: When Twitter became popular, teenagers already had their favorite Web sites for communicating, so they were not interested in a new one. The people who discovered Twitter were adults who were new to social networking.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/4zCalB

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