Twitter users comprise 8% of U.S. adults online
Roughly eight per cent of all U.S. adults on the web are using Twitter, the popular micro-blogging website first launched in 2006, a new survey suggests.
That’s according to new numbers from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, which on Thursday released the first stand-alone readings focused on Twitter.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan research group, studying online social networking trends, questioned roughly 2,250 people in November. Respondents were asked: "Do you use Twitter?"
Of the eight per cent sample that answered yes, two per cent said they logged on more or less daily to check the messaging service, which claims tens of millions of users worldwide.
Aaron Smith, a senior research spcialist with Pew, said the Internet Project decided to tighten its questioning in November to focus on Twitter as it became apparent the service was emerging as a social networking force.
"We always have to strike a balance between asking questions that will get interesting findings and be of the moment while also standing the test of time," he told CBC News.
Popular with minorities, city dwellers
"We’re always tweaking questions to make sure they’re really capturing what people are doing online. We felt asking about Twitter as a standalone service was making it a more interesting issue than asking about a status update more broadly."
Pew further concluded that — as their survey showed 74 per cent of American adults are active online — the Twitter community comprises a six per cent slice of the entire national population over the age of 18.
Breakdowns of Twitter users (also known as tweeters or twitterers) by demographic also showed that the site was especially popular among young adults between 18 and 29 years old, minorities, and people living in urban areas.
Latino respondents led the way, with 18 per cent saying they used Twitter, followed by 13 per cent of African-American respondents.
City residents (11 per cent) were twice as likely to be active on the site as those living in rural areas (five per cent).
"The other interesting finding is the range of material that people post on Twitter," Smith added. "In many instances, people are posting about things that happen in their lives, but at the same time they’re posting about things related to their work, they’re finding news, sharing information, cracking jokes, just engaging in a wide range of subjects that goes beyond trivial details of their daily lives."
The Pew Twitter surveys were conducted between Nov. 3 to 24. The results have an error margin of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points, Pew said.