T(w)eens Don’t Tweet? They May Start Soon

October 7, 2009

[For the original article from ReadWriteWeb, click here]

“Teens don’t tweet.” Over the past few weeks, this fact has been reported time and time again from analysts, bloggers, and even mainstream media. Why the obsession with the teenage crowd on Twitter? Perhaps it’s simply because adults can’t believe that, for once, they’re the group responsible for the birth of an internet phenomenon and not the other way around. But before all you adults get too comfortable with your Twitter dominance, take a look at the recent data from comScore. It appears that the youngest Twitter users – those in the 12-24 bracket – are now the fastest growing segment of Twitter’s population. So the kids don’t tweet? Looks like they may start really soon if this new data is to be believed.

Kids Don’t Use Twitter

According to a recent article in the New York Times, teens are more likely to use text messaging than Twitter for keeping up with their friends. Today’s teens feel somewhat uncomfortable with the public nature of the communication that takes place Twitter, and, besides, they just don’t see the point in broadcasting what they’re doing to the whole world. Yet even without this age group’s participation, Twitter has seen amazing success, proving the point that a new technology does not have to be adopted by this young group of users in order to make it big.

Twitter’s Youth Sees Growth

Although Twitter didn’t attract the teens from the onset, that could still change. In fact, it looks like that change may already be underway. A newly released chart from comScore breaks down the age groups of Twitter users and plots each group’s growth over time, relative to audience. The most surprising revelation from this chart is the steep incline seen in the age group 12-24. Over the past few months, this group’s participation levels have been increasing dramatically.

In reading the chart, a score of “100” means that the age group on Twitter is represented in perfect proportion to how much that age group uses the rest of the Internet as a whole. Go over 100 and that means the age group is represented more heavily on Twitter than they are represented on the rest of the web. In July, those aged 12-24 scored a “121” – a score that was only in the mid-70’s a mere six months ago.

Statistics Can be Misleading

But wait – a quick glance at these statistics can be misleading. At first, it appears that the chart simply shows the increasing participation levels of the teens (and young adults) on Twitter. While that may be true, it’s important to note that the actual number of younger users on Twitter is still much lower than those of their adult counterparts. In fact, the New York Times recently reported that only 11% of Twitter users are aged 12 to 17 according to comScore.

Plus, there’s the fact that the age group 12-24 represents an odd way of breaking up the demographics. Why not 12-18 instead? With this particular slice of Twitter’s user base, there’s no way to tell how many users are teens versus how many are young adults in their 20’s.

Finally, what the chart is showing is audience growth as compared to the rest of the Internet as a whole. That’s also a an interesting way of charting the demographics of Twitter, to say the least.

All that being said, the data seen here is still valuable to some extent. It’s interesting to see this market segment’s growth, even if it’s sliced and diced in this odd way. But does this mean that teens are going to start tweeting sometime soon? Let us know what you think in the comments.


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