While the overall proportion of online adults using Twitter did not rise significantly from May 2011 to February 2012, the percentage using the site on a typical day doubled in that time period, according to a May 2012 report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. As of February 2012, 15% of online adults overall were using Twitter, with 8% using it on a typical day. This is an increase from 13% overall and 4% daily users in May 2011, and compares even more favorably to usage in November 2010, which was limited to 8% of online adults, including just 2% using it on a daily basis.
African-Americans, Youth Over-Index in Usage
Data from Pew’s “Twitter Use 2012″ reveals that Twitter usage is highest among African-American (28%) and 18-24-year-old (30%) internet users. In fact, the proportion of daily African-American Twitter users rivals the proportion of online adults overall who use Twitter (13% and 15%, respectively), while the proportion of daily 18-24-year-old Twitter users exceeds it (20% vs. 15%).
In other demographic data, internet users with less than $30,000 a year in household income (19%), as well as those with no high school diploma (22%) both demonstrate above-average use of Twitter.
Youth Show Most Rapid Growth
The above-average Twitter use demonstrated by 18-24-year-olds is chiefly the result of a large jump in usage from May 2011. Indeed, between May 2011 and February 2012, the proportion of 18-24-year-old internet users who use Twitter rose from 18% to 31%. To put this in perspective, no other age group saw usage rates change by more than 2% points.
Daily usage among 18-24-year-olds also saw solid growth during that time period, more than doubling from 9% to 20%. Of note, daily usage among 25-34-year-old users also soared, from 5% to 11%.
Smartphone Users More Likely to Tweet
The report also suggests that the rapid growth of Twitter use by 18-24-year-olds may be related to this age group’s increasing adoption of smartphones, pointing out that smartphone users are more than twice as likely as basic mobile phone owners to use Twitter (20% vs. 9%), and more than 4 times as likely to be daily users (13% vs. 3%).
18-24-year-old cell phone owners (regardless of platform) are also more likely than the average adult to use Twitter on their phones (22% vs. 9%), with African American (17%) and Hispanic (12%) mobile phone owners also displaying above average use of the site on their phones.
Many New Account Holders Not Active Users
The proportion of Twitter users who describe themselves as daily users is an important metric, given that recent research calls into question the extent of site activity among account holders. Data from a January 2012 analysis from Twopcharts indicates that among the studied sample of 100,000 accounts registered about 3 months earlier, fully 52.7% had no followers, and 24.3% were not following anyone else. In fact, 96.8% of the accounts had 50 or less followers, while roughly 9 in 10 were not following anyone else.
About the Data: The results in the Pew report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from January 20 to February 19, 2012, among a sample of 2,253 adults, age 18 and older. Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,352) and cell phone (901, including 440 without a landline phone).