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Look Who Is Driving Twitter

Smartphone adoption is helping drive up the number of tweets that Twitter users are posting each day, although the overall adoption of the social network has remained somewhat constant over the last two years.

This tidbit of news came from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which has been tracking this since November 2010, practically an eternity on the web.

Pew found that as of February 2012, 15 percent of online Americans use Twitter, with 8 percent doing so on a typical day. The latter figure is twice as high as Pew found in the 2011 incarnation of this report, even though the number of overall Twitter users rose only 2 percent.

Twitter’s biggest fans tend to fall into three groups: African-Americans, young adults and urban/suburban dwellers.

About 28 percent of online African-Americans are Twitter aficionados, with 13 percent tweeting on a typical day.

Young adults between the ages 18 and 29 years old have an overall Twitter adoption rate of 26 percent, with those on the younger side, 18 to 24 years old, skewing somewhat higher with a 31 percent usage rate.

Those in this age group are also more likely to use a smartphone to update their Twitter account. The Pew study found 20 percent of smartphone users have a Twitter account and 13 percent use Twitter on any given day.

Only 9 percent of those with feature phones use Twitter.

The Pew researchers said this makes sense as younger adults have the highest adoption rate for smartphones. Smartphones are also more capable Twitter platforms, making it easier for people to use them more frequently, the study found.

When one looks at somewhat older adults, 30 to 49 years old, the interest in Twitter drops to only 13 percent.

City-based Twitters comprise about 19 percent of that community, while their suburban counterparts are at 14 percent. Only 8 percent of those living in rural areas bother to update the world with 140-character posts.

When it comes to daily usage, 20 percent of younger adults, 18 to 24, use Twitter each day. This quickly declines to:

  • 11 percent for 25- to 34-year-olds
  • 9 percent for 35- to 44-year-olds
  • 3 percent for 45- to 54-year-olds
  • 4 percent for 55- to 64-year-olds
  • less than 1 percent for those 65 and older