Twitter is for Old People?

By: Chris Crum - October 22, 2009

I heard a story on NPR yesterday where they talked to kids about social networks. The popular opinion (at least among the kids talked to for the piece) was that Facebook was "in" and Twitter was for old people.

Research released from Pew Internet, however, seems to contradict the notion that Twitter is just for the old. In fact, according to Pew, three groups of Internet users are mainly responsible for driving the growth of tweeting and status updating. These are social network users, those who connect to the Internet via mobile devices, and younger Internet users (under 44).

Of course, what kids consider to be old, may often be well below 44, so they may still have a point. Pew does say that the more devices someone owns, the more likely they are to use Twitter, and adults are far more likely to own more devices than kids who haven’t entered the workforce yet.

Young Twitter Users

Going by median age, Twitter looks a little younger than Facebook, but not by much. The median age of a Twitter user is 31, while the median age for Facebook is 33 (In May 0f2008 it was 26). So young Facebook users may start worrying (if they’re not already) that the old folks are crashing their "in" party.

The median age for MySpace, according to Pew, is 26, and for LinkedIn it is 39.

"It will probably become more difficult to track status updating as an independent activity as social network updates feed into Twitter and vice versa," says Pew. "For now, it is clear that a ‘social segment’ of internet users is flocking to both social network sites and status update services. This segment is likely to grow as ever more internet users adopt mobile devices as a primary means of going online."

One thing’s for sure. No matter what age you are, if you are using sites like Twitter and Facebook, you better be careful of what you are posting publicly even more so now. Updates are going to start appearing in major search engines.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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  • Guest

    Facebook has more of a younger influence because it started for college students. It has then, opened up to high school students and now to anyone and everyone. Those with younger siblings looked up to the older siblings with Facebook and then used it.
    In the beginning, Twitter came out for anyone and everyone. And if you ask any one in my age group, 23 year olds, they do not see the point of twitter. “If its just status updates, that’s what Facebook is?” Most have no idea what Twitter is in general.
    Facebook established loyalty to younger age groups first. I now use Twitter because of my job to promote my company, but still struggle to find what a 20-something individual can “tweet” and get a following if other similar 20-somethings are not on the same social networking site.