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8% of online Americans use Twitter

 4:50 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Eight percent of the American adults who use the internet are Twitter users. 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 older adults.
  • African-Americans and Latinos Minority internet users 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.



 5:47 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

41% "say they check the site less than every few weeks, or never do so at all."


 6:03 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Those stats are a lot lower than I expected.

[edited by: ember at 6:35 pm (utc) on Dec 9, 2010]


 6:07 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

8% of *online* Americans is a lot lower than I expected. Facebook's usage rate must be way higher than that. Twitter is still a fad IMHO.


 7:16 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Like you, @Swanny007, I'm surprised. I must've used FB in the wrong way before I got bored and dropped it. I use Twitter as somewhat a news feed (alongside Techmeme), and even catch webmasterworld updates there.


 9:51 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I know exactly one person who has found true value in twitter. He's a consultant building his SEM profile and needs to appear to be knowledgeable. Everyone else I know has checked it out, posted 2-3 times, got bored, and quit. :)


 10:14 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I FB about once a week... that's about as much as I can stand.

I do not tweet and have no desire to do so.

Tend to be a bit more verbose than 140 characters at a time. :)


 11:36 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sure, but once those 8% echo throughout the metal chamber that is Twitter, it's actually 240% of online Americans.


 11:46 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

twitter getting free promotion from all over the web. still, it's already stagnant or declining. apart from comparatively very few heavy users, people find it uninteresting, they have no use for it. and the most unfavorable circumstance for a social media tool: it is replaceable. right, it's a fad. anything else than a mass medium.


 12:02 am on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes 8% is a lot lower than I would have thought.

I think its just too time consuming and trivial for the average person.
Whereas Facebook, does have some use.


 1:20 am on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think its just too time consuming and trivial for the average person.
Whereas Facebook, does have some use.

It's exactly the other way, twitter has some use, facebook is utterly useless and a total waste of time but the average brainless facebooker will not admit it, they just flock.


 3:42 am on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

It is always a reality check when we hear what other people are doing online. We all use this stuff differently.

I am not surprised twitter usage is 8%. I would like to know what the usage rate is for people who have been on twitter more than a year and more than two years. I have hunch, that it is dropping among the early adopters. Twitter is the best place I can find to stay informed. Thanks Tweeps!

I am mystified by Facebook. I understand it's success - do to social reasons - and that part make sense. The part that doesn't compute is what people are really doing there all day long. Aside from the lamer gamer aspect, what could people be doing there so many hours a day? I could easily do without fb. The only value is a connection spot for family.


 3:59 am on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I know exactly one person who has found true value in twitter... Everyone else I know has checked it out, posted 2-3 times, got bored, and quit. :)

I lasted about 6 tweets and quit.

If they ever update that ancient classic on crowd psychology "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds," it will certainly have a scathing chapter on Twitter-mania.


 5:11 am on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am finding great personal value in Twitter - and many of my clients have found immeasurably more than I have.

That said, I had to go through a significant shift to "get it". That shift came because of my clients and the values they were finding. So after a false start, I committed myself to really engage Twitter for one month - and it changed my understanding.

Twitter is now approaching 100 million tweets every day. That is a good bit beyond fad status, in my view. It is something so new that even the Twitter CEO is struggling to comprehend what it is they have created.


 5:25 am on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

tedster, nobody thought MySpace was a fad during it's peak... ;-)


 6:42 am on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Twitter and Facebook serve entirely different purposes.

Facebook is for keeping up with friends.

Twitter is for finding interesting streams of fact and opinion from people you may not know.

FB is light and gossipy, Twitter is (relatively!) more cerebral and their relative popularity reflects that.


 12:15 pm on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Assignment: Give an example of "cult experience".

I had to go through a significant shift to "get it". That shift came because . . the values they were finding . . I committed myself . . and it changed my understanding.

Ted, like many declarations of a "getting it" experience . . I just don't get it.

Please share in somewhat greater detail the stuff of your epiphany.

Not that "more stuff" is, or has ever been, the secret sauce of enlightenment . . ;)


 1:04 pm on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

You just get it or you don't. ;-)


 2:31 pm on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

You just get it or you don't. ;-)

Been there. Done that. I sooo ain't drinking the Kool-Aid or EST-aid or Twit-Aid. ;)

I sort of get Twitter's potential as a quasi-closed-circuit "querycasting" platform . . but as a push platform I am NOT loving it. :-/

Geez . . are you from the 60s, RB . . or did you have two 50s and head right to the 70s . . or two 70s and head right to . . disco hell . . or is that disco heaven? :)

Hmmm . . Kool-Est-Twit-Aid . . Uh-oh . . it's flashback time.


 3:20 pm on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

There are some "push" uses for Twitter that do work - but it depends on who is using it. In those cases, it's kind of a substitute for an RSS feed. I follow local weather on Twitter, for example, as well as organizations in several special interests I have.

But really, Twitter goes beyond any "push" or "pull" model of commerce. Remember The Cluetrain Manifesto thesis? "Markets are conversations." It is in this profound sense that Twitter is marketing.

And then there's the fact that I have lots of friends and business contacts on Twitter So it's a way of staying in touch with lots of folks at once, deepening my appreciation for who they are and what they do.

In the strictest definition, any group of people organized around a central something-or-other is a cult. SEO people are a cult - as are SMM people, and physicists and mathematicians and begonia fanciers. It's a characteristic of almost all human interaction - more neutrally it's called "having something in common."

The only alternative to being cultic is being Awake with a capital "A" - and there have not been too many Buddhas so far.

So for the rest of this, there can be value in Twitter. My Twitter stream reminds me of a Pubcon networking session and it brings me a similar kind of value. I also intend to be offering a similar value to those who read my tweets. Just as ay any cocktail party, I try not to talk too much and to listen well to others.

Skipped breakfast today - ate too much at the company holiday party last night ;)

[edited by: tedster at 9:43 pm (utc) on Dec 12, 2010]


 4:25 pm on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

offering a similar value

Therein lies the rub.

Only by the consistentcy of user intent to "~yield/produce/deliver value" does the platform (any platform) . . yield/have value. In Twitter's case @ ~140 characters at a time, which "limitation" has the benefit of containing the long-winded (:-/), compelling user focus on delivering value or die (due to attention budgeting, capacity to ingest info), etc.

How much of tweeting is built around yielding value?

Are the "value producers" desirable targets of whatever model Twitter will introduce to monetize the platform?

If not, will the non-value producing Twerps be worthwhile targets for sufficient ad dollars to support Twitter?

If not, is Twitter so inherently valuable that you would pay for it OR, if the circle of value producers is small enough why not just create a little threaded blog where you all can act as authors and commenters?

I suspect value producing circles are of a scale that, with a little initiative/imagination, they needn't be bound to Twitter's platform and they needn't broadcast their ideas to anyone other than the value producing contributors themselves.

<small aside>
There is a certain something to the conversations amongst marketers - for example, tweeting "as a siderail of the Cluetrain-rails" - perhaps to show/manifest their platform savvy to those concerned about the role of the platform.

I get a sense that there's also a whole lotta "give us a place in this evolution of how people choose and buy stuff . . please . . we're really not marketers, trying to keep or find our/a place in this new world order . . we're . . we're . . social media mavens . . neuromarketers . . . we're RELEVANT . . the conversation NEEDS US . . we're NECESSARY . . BELIEVE! :P"

Heaven forbid the Cluetrain actually leaves the station with the ~marketers and "conversation massagers/manipulators" (:P and :-/) left standing on the . . train platform.

Lord knows they sneak or muscle their way onto every other . . platform . . hosting the new . . social media . . Cluetrain manifesto . . "we're really us, the people, doing this markets thing ourselves free of those bad bad inflencers" . . conversation.

Bleh. Long-winded once again.
</small aside>


 9:16 pm on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

regular twitter users who "get it" try to convince the other folks by mentioning the various benefits they have experienced - thereby doing the free promo for that tool. fair enough.

the crux is, that for every enthusiastic user you have several who feel unlucky. and the few testimonials obviously don't suffice to get a considerable amount of people motivated to at least try this thing out. the sheer fact, that overall only few people actually ever subscribe to twitter is the first problem.

the second problem lies within the entry barrier after registration. fast satisfying user experiences are hardly achievable with twitter. either intensely devote yourself to the tool and dive deep into the networking thing for months - or simply dabble in it with a few tweets and follows here and there and quickly get bored in most cases. and the latter represents likely even the majority of the 8 percent registrants. a huge number of disappointed users is always deadly. so twitter will hold a niche status if at all.

so, that leads nowhere. it doesn't feel right and there's little reason to be optimistic about a real twitter breakthrough in the future. in fact, as already mentioned, the curve of unique users is already flat for some time now.


 10:33 pm on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Slightly off topic, but I'd also like to know how many Facebook users there are now. (I have Googled but cant find the answer)

One keeps reading of 500,000,000 but it has been that many for quite a while now.

300,000 new Android phones a day !


 10:16 am on Dec 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Tend to be a bit more verbose than 140 characters at a time. :)

BINGO! I can't stand using twitter for just that reason alone!


 9:18 pm on Dec 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here in the Netherlands, it seems Twitter is something very handy for politicians, celebrities and journalists. Politicians and celebrities post their messages on Twitter for journalists to pick up.

Journalists are naturally very happy with this situation, and so tell everyone about Twitter. And that's why we hear so much about Twitter. Not because it's useful to us, but because it's useful for journalists.


 4:45 am on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

87% of which are businesses or marketers who love to hear the echo of the sound of their own voice.


 3:22 am on Dec 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not one of them. I don't know really know what Twitter is and I don't really care.

All I know is that Sarah Palin and other people I wish would just go away send tweets that make the news.

I'm not interested in Twitter.


 3:50 am on Dec 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

It doesn't matter to me if you use it or not. What matters to me is my target customer uses it and my ROI is increasing.


 5:39 am on Dec 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

I guess I am wondering why SE's are holding twitter in such high regard if the usage by Americans (or any population) is only at 8%...

The other day, there was a major signing of a player in baseball. It was a tremendous surprise to most baseball fans (including myself). I decided to check out what twitter users had to say about the deal, minutes after I saw the news on the ESPN bottom scroll on TV.

So, I searched for the name of the player on twitter...over the next five to ten minutes, I watched (and refreshed the resulting page every minute or so) and saw a land grab/gold rush sort of behavior about the player signing with a team. Over seven thousand people on twitter (according to the stats I kept adding upon a refresh) had an opinion in that time span and a huge percentage of them included a link to a/their web site, "detailing" what had taken place, with some/just a few ads around the "content".

You just get it or you don't. ;-)

Is the last paragraph above close to what you meant regarding twitter?


 6:21 pm on Dec 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

8% of all online Americans using a website to communicate - that is an extremely significant number. I wouldn't use the word "only" in that sentence. Not only that, but many out of that 8% are very influential.

It's very clear that Twitter is a cultural nexus right now. That's why search engines are doing so much with it. Many large enterprises are finding Twitter crucial - and they're willing to pay 6 figures annually for the market intelligence that can be extracted.

There's another thread in this forum that at least starts to scratch the surface of Twitter's value for the SMB, too: Why should you use Twitter? [webmasterworld.com].

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