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The Young Are Using Twitter. Are They Using Facebook Less?

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The Young Are Using Twitter. Are They Using Facebook Less?
[ Social Media]

There are 24 hours in a day. That’s an unchangeable fact, as far as I can tell (though admittedly, I never thought Pluto would lose its planet status, so I guess anything’s possible).

Should Facebook be worried about young people using Twitter more frequently? Share your thoughts.

As long as there is only a set amount of time in a day, there is only so much social networking an individual can participate in. Only so much time using the Internet. Meanwhile, more and more services are competing for our time.

Recently Google launched Google+ to cut into that time even more. If you use it, it’s taking away time from something. For some, it may be taking time away from their Facebook use. For some, it may be taking time away from their Twitter use.

But let’s forget about Google+ for a moment and consider that Twitter itself has grown significantly in popularity over the last year, no doubt helped by celebrities and the constant visibility of tweets in the media. As more people use Twitter more often, they’re taking away time that they would have otherwise been doing something else. It does not seem too far outside of the realm of possibility that for many it is taking away from their time using Facebook.

Should Facebook be more worried about Google+ or Twitter? Tell us what you think.

Various studies looking at social media demographics that have come out in recent memory have indicated that Twitter use is most prevalent among younger generations. In June, we looked at some numbers from Pew Internet, which showed that 18% of the 18-29 demographic were using Twitter. That was the highest, with 30-49 coming in at 14%, 50-64 at 8% and over 65 at 6%. In other words, the older the demographic, the less percentage using Twitter. They didn’t poll those under 18.

Pew Twitter Demographics

In my own personal experience, the trend is similar. Among people I know outside of the marketing, tech and media industries, it does seem that the most tweeting comes from the younger people.

I’ve certainly noticed the younger people (teenagers/young adults) in my family flocking to Twitter more and more, and perhaps posting updates on Facebook a bit less. In fact, one of the last Facebook updates on my wife’s sister’s Facebook Wall (she’s 18) is about wanting more followers on Twitter. My cousin, who is just a couple years older, has her Twitter account connected to her Facebook account, and most of her updates are her tweets – usually unless she’s sharing a picture, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this behavior change now that Twitter has its own photo sharing feature in place.

Other people (and parents) I’ve talked to have noted similar trends in their families – the kids using Twitter more. One parent I talked to even said that they did not let their kid use Facebook, but does let her use Twitter. This is an interesting point to note itself.

Most Facebook posts are private, or at least limited to visibility by friends. Most tweets, on the other hand are public. Sure, you can make Facebook updates public, and you can make tweets private, but these aren’t the norms of the services. As long as we’re on the subject, Facebook just put out a new Security guide for parents, teens and educators.

Back in March, Twitter shared some growth numbers. There were 572,000 accounts created on a single day and a 182% increase in the number of mobile users compared to the same time last year. The average number of tweets being sent per day was 140 million.

Mobile has been a major driver of Twitter use, and who is on their phone more than a teenager?

Obviously Facebook is available on mobile too, but perhaps it’s the simple text message style of Twitter that the young’ns are finding appealing. Maybe it’s that less of the parents are on Twitter.

If it’s about playing where the parents aren’t, one has to wonder how the younger generations will embrace Google+ with its Circles concept.

Let’s also remember the famous words of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg: “In consumer technology, if you want to know what people like us will do tomorrow, you look at what teenagers are doing today…”

She was talking about email “probably going away” – a concept on which our skepticism is well documented, but it’s interesting to note that she expressed this line of thinking, as we observe how younger people are using Twitter more and more.

We might as well point out some words by Zynga’s Director of Brand Advertising at SXSW this year as well. He called 40-year-old moms the new hardcore gamers. Zynga is of course behind some of the most popular games on Facebook like Cityville, Farmville, FrontierVille and Mafia Wars. Their popular Words with Friends game also recently came to Facebook.

There are tons of younger users on Facebook (and Facebook is a much larger network than Twitter). Nobody is saying otherwise. I’d be surprised if most younger Twitter users didn’t also have Facebook accounts. The question is, whether they are using Facebook less as they are using Twitter more. Unfortunately there’s no easy way to tell this information, but it’s starting to feel that way to me.

Twitter has been more active in expanding user features since Jack Dorsey came back to the company earlier this year, than it has been in a long time (maybe ever). There is clearly a new attitude among Twitter management that is about taking care of some business.

While it’s certainly possible that Google+ will also eat into Twitter time for some users (it already has), I’d be surprised if Twitter didn’t continue to grow rapidly, and let’s not forget that the next version of iOS – the operating system that powers the ever-popular iPhone and iPad – is about to launch with heavy integration of Twitter. And we all know that “teens be iPhonein’.”

Twitter comes to iOS

Facebook seems to be worrying about Google+ these days, but Twitter (which Facebook has borrowed heavily from in the past) just might continue to chip away at the social networking time pie.

Apparently, the wealthy are more interested in Facebook than Twitter, so that should bode pretty well for Facebook in the advertising department.

What do you think? Are younger people using Twitter more and Facebook less? Is this the case in your own personal experience? Let us know in the comments.

The Young Are Using Twitter. Are They Using Facebook Less?
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  • http://laurelsplutoblog.blogspot.com Laurel Kornfeld

    Pluto did not exactly lose its planet status. Pluto IS still considered a planet by many astronomers. Only four percent of the IAU voted on the controversial demotion, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed by hundreds of professional astronomers in a formal petition led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of the New Horizons mission to Pluto.

    • http://www.prognog.com Ryan

      Pluto will always be a planet in my house. Long live Pluto!!!

      • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

        “Like”

  • Mark

    I wonder, does this take into account social media dashboards, such as Hoot Stuite? I know that my own personal usage of both Twitter and Facebook has increased, due in part to the ability to scchedule posting and respond to comments and posts on several networks from one application. Since this is the case, your initial premise may be on shaky ground. Using Twitter more is not necessarily taking away from Facebook usage. Also, most stats actually show that the average Tweeter is almost two years older than the average Facebooker. While you ask some good questions, your research is lacking.

  • Steve snow

    Facebook should be worried but not just because Young people going to Twitter but now Fandustry is the new “Now Network” Google+ They all are in competition but Facebook is being used by the older generation. Twitter and Fandustry are being used by youth and celebrities.

  • Toni

    If this piece of news that I have recently found is true, for sure that FB should be worry.

    http://www.slashgear.com/facebook-like-button-declared-illegal-in-germany-19173117/

    Cheers.

  • http://www.housesforsalebuckheadga.com tribalstylemedia

    I can see that happening to Facebook easily. I for one am not a fan of FB, too many pokes here, game invites, surveys etc. It’s definitely not a secure form of communication either. My account’s been hacked multiple times already by spammers trying to sell iPhones. I have to laugh when they say email will be eliminated. If people calculated the time they waste on there, they’d be shocked.

    • http://www.agent.dynamicmerchants.com/12587 Keith

      Yeah, Someone set-up a facebook account using my hotmail e-mail. Another person set-up a account with link-in using the same hotmail account.

  • http://www.emuzicabuna.com special consult

    facebook does not help our business beacause people does not folow the link to our website so we are waiting for google plus if his going to solve this probleme facebook wiil be serious afected

    • http://marketsecrets.biz Market Secrets Blogger

      I have found many instances to support your comment. But from thourough studying I have also figured out that a business fb page should be used ad a companion to your main site instead of a bridge to youraim site.

      Mamy ppl try to use a fanpage to drive more traffic to their site when in actuality that fanpage should sort of stand on its own almost like being another version of your main site with interactive capabilities in it ;)

      • http://www.emuzicabuna.com special consult

        Thank you for these information I am a brazilian living in Romania and am trying to make some campaign to inform the people because tehe are a lot of video which reaches more tha 3-4 miliones viws on youtube but nobody folow tke link Another thing google rezults are full of spam special on the title

  • http://www.emuzicabuna.com special consult

    I use facebook fun page to rank some keyord but i dont get trafic from there because people dont folow the links Mean while i discover that google rank those fun page very well Why go do that ?

  • http://overallbeauty.com Kim ~ Overall Beauty

    I think it comes down to, what is the easiest thing to use? You can tweet from your phone faster than you can post to Facebook. Or you can set it up so you post to Twitter that will in turn post to Facebook making it so you don’t even have to log in to post to Facebook.
    Facebook has its issues that is for sure, but as long as there are social media sites people will post and be involve with the ones they are most comfortable with.

  • http://marketsecrets.biz Market Secrets Blogger

    In the long run facebook has to be on the lookout for google plus because it contains both twitter like functions and facebook like functions all rolled into one!

    With that being said, google plus needs to get more into the mainstream before it gets stuck with an image of being mostly for geeks…and their name Google+ isnt exactly helping. For example what sounds better in everyday conversation: goto my facebook page or goto my google plus page :rolleyes:

  • Graham

    Hi Chris,
    To put it plain and simple, with Twitter “you get what you are looking for” and so cut out all the crap! ;-) that you would have to sift through in other social media app, yip like Facebook. But then we all have our pro and cons, yes Facebook should be worried about Twitter.

  • http://saskatoonjanitorialservices.com Kari Waldner

    I do think Facebook should be concerned with the younger generations interaction preference because they are driving the economy a lot in regards to technology and social media. I’m not sure they need to worry about twitter, I think their focus should be on Google+. It has all the newness that fb used to have without all the noise and depressing status updates and unlike twitter you can get some real conversation going with unlimited character usage.

  • http://MyNYCBirthday.com NYC Birthday

    We spend a lot of time debating this in the office, and my personal take on it is that Facebook’s ability to incorporate the other mediums will likely prevent Twitter at least from having much of an impact. For example, updating a business page on Facebook serves to update your business Twitter as well, not even necessitating a Twitter login in most cases. It is hard to see how Twitter can compete with the Facebook status update in the long-term.

  • http://www.8womendream.com Catherine

    Twitter is better for socializing with the world and seeing live updates. The young like it (well so do I am I am not so young) because you can see what is going on in the world right at this moment.

    The problem with Google Plus, Facebook and LinkedIn (although good in certain areas) they limit your social network. On Twitter, if you like what someone has to say you can follow them and @ them and engage with them.

    There aren’t any friend requests or requesting of any kind on Twitter …. just the world chatting. And if you follow the right people you can log on at any time as see wonderful new ideas, laughter and connections. This is hard to do on that other three social networks because they have set them up with this paranoid idea that connecting with strangers is bad.

    I want to socialize with family, then friends, then co-workers and then the world. If Google Plus can figure this out in circles while giving users access to some sort of public stream of thoughts to connect with new people around the world, then Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn should be worried.

    But until then, Twitter is the best at doing that.

  • http://www.patantconsult.com/articlesvault Carla Lendor

    You have omitted an important demographic; below 18. An minor first introduction to a social network is not Twitter or G+ but Facebook. The close nature of Facebook means a parent can better monitor the conversations taken place online and as such is more likely to approve the social network. This is important given that there are predators have gone digital and Google plus and Twitter do not that. Facebook is also the preferred network on the parent so there is an additional level of monitoring.

    Success will depend on which networks attracts the lion share of this below 18 group. There are lots of youngster as young as 9, purporting to be teenagers on Facebook. If FB plays the card right they will grow with them.

    I believe FB has the edge and Twitter and God+ both have a lot of catching up to do.

  • http://www.payamhost.net iraj

    ok

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    Geolocation websites are a very hot trend now and using Twitter on a mobile is a natural extension of that. You can easily use Twitter to tell your friends where you are, arrange meetings, etc. I see this becoming even bigger since the mobile phone is becoming the platform of the future and Twitter seems to fit in with the phone better than the other social sites.

  • Craig

    Since facebook became a censorer I will NOT use facebook for any communication if other modes are available.

  • http://www.agent.dynamicmerchants.com/12587 Keith

    Facebook causes alot of drama. This maybe the reason parents do not let children have an account.

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