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Twitter: 11%

By - February 13, 2009

Ars covers a Pew report that says 11% of American’s have used Twitter or a similar service. I find that hard to believe.

What I don’t find difficult to believe is how mobile Twitter users are:



Overall, Pew observes that Twitter users engage news and technology at roughly the same rates as everyone else, “but the ways in which they use the technology—to communicate, gather and share information—reveals their affinity for mobile, untethered and social opportunities for interaction.”

More on the study from Pew:

As of December 2008, 11% of online American adults said they used a service like Twitter or another service that allowed them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others.



This might mean Facebook status as well, which makes more sense (and then seems a bit low!).

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11 thoughts on “Twitter: 11%

  1. I find that very difficult to believe, John. I agree that the mobile bit is on the mark, but 11% is crazy. How did they ask the question?

    - Stuart

  2. Greg Fenton says:

    Problem is, do you trust that 11% of online “Americans” can properly answer the question of whether they’ve used a “service like Twitter”?

  3. Shanthala Balagopal says:

    This is interesting, but Wink People Search produced this map that basically tells you the concentration of various social networks across the world. For example, it shows you that Facebook is very popular in the US, in major cities only.

    I would love for you to comment on the map. Please let me know if you are interested.

  4. Alvin Wang says:

    The part I find interesting is that younger people are more likely to use Twitter than older people. I was discussing it with a friend the other day. We agreed that Twitter was for single people. In which case, twitter is more a stage in life like Clubbing than a new social trend that is just waiting for the users to get older like the Internet.

  5. Bertil Hatt says:

    I’m assuming the question was asked in such a way that most people either included mobile Instant messaging (the partnership with Windows Messenger on mobile was clearly a very hot topic in Europe last year) or some assumed this was standard SMS — possibly texting to vote-in TV shows like American Idol. It’s possible that some have seen the name Twitter on CNN, and assumed the question included viewership.

    Unless I missed something, Twitter is by far the largest of such services in the US, and doesn’t have adoption ratio that could account for 5% of the US population.

    Last, least likely assumption: Pew got their ratio wrong, e.g. have weighted their sample by internet presence — hence very skewed towards power-users.

  6. Andrew Wise says:

    By less affluent, does this survey mean that they are kids in middle school, high school, college or that they are older and still less affluent?

  7. Eric says:

    11% might be reasonable if it includes generic status updating on any website (facebook, myspace, etc.). Twitter has far less than 10m users, and eMarketer says the US online population is roughly 200m users. So even if all Twitter users were American (which is far from the case), it couldn’t account for more than half of status updating. It’s likely that Facebook’s ~160m users account for far more of the 11% PEW is reporting.

  8. Michael says:

    The report says 11% of Americans on the Internet, not 11% of Americans.

    What %age of Americans have ‘net access?

  9. There are some 6 million unique twitter users as of now; at most 50% of them will be Americans. So it is hard to believe that 11% of online USA citizens are using only twitter.

    Counting in Facebook might change the picture.

  10. fred wilson says:

    a tweet is a tweet, whether its on facebook or twitter or some other service

    i’m with everyone else that the 11% is about tweeting, not twitter

  11. face book is one of the greatest innovations of this century