The army of Twitterers is growing quickly, per The Pew Internet Project report released today (Oct. 21). The report found that 19 percent of all U.S. Internet users now use either Twitter or smaller services, such as Yammer, to share social updates. This was up 8 percent from the 11 percent who used such services in April 2009.
The majority of the growth can be attributed to three main consumer groups: young Internet users 18-44, mobile users and those who already utilize social networks, such as Facebook and MySpace. Data was comprised of 2,253 phone responses from U.S. consumers 18 and older between August 18 and September 14.
Twitter and other status services were most popular among those aged 18 to 24. In fact, usage nearly doubled from 19 percent in December 2008 to 37 percent. Those 25-35 also rapidly joined the fray—up 20 points to 31 percent. Usage among 35 to 44 years old jumped 10 points to 19 percent.
Older demographics were slower to adopt Twitter use, with the 45-54 and 55-64 age brackets totaling 10 percent each and the 65-plus crowd tallying only 4 percent. Yet these groups increased by 5 percent, 6 percent and 2 percent, respectively since December.
"People are increasingly using the Internet to contribute to the conversation and to listen to the conversation, to monitor what’s going on.,” said Susannah Fox, associate director for Pew Internet & American Life Project and co-author of the report. “It’s a pretty interesting finding, if someone is building an audience online, to know that there are people who maybe never respond but are lurking and learning by subscribing to the feed."
Not surprisingly, wireless users and social networkers are among the most active. A quarter of the 54 percent of respondents who said they have wireless access via a laptop, mobile phone or other console, said they post status updates. Users of social networks (35 percent) were far more likely to be tweeting compared to their non-social-networking peers (6 percent).
The surge in Twitter's popularity during the last nine months follows a natural progression for social media, said Joel Comm, co-author of Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time. "It simplifies what we are trying to accomplish—and that is connecting with people. There is so much immediacy. And there's no sign that Twitter is going to slow down anytime soon."