Twitter Used by 8% of Americans, Pew Says

Pew Research said Twitter is used by 8 percent of American adults who use the Internet, with the greatest use among young urban adults and minorities.

Twitter is used by 8 percent of American adults who use the Internet, with the greatest use among young urban adults and minorities, according to the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

Twitter, which claims to have about 180 million users, is the leading microblog service among casual Web users.

The communication tool allows users to write quick messages of 140 characters or less and blast them out to their followers on the service. The service has become a major marketing tool for businesses, and has capitalized on this to make money by offering advertising-laced tweets.

Pew, which itself uses Twitter to gauge social media, polled more than 2,250 Web users polled in November.

In response to the simple question, "Do you use Twitter?" 8 percent of online adults said they do, with 2 percent doing so on a typical day.

Of the 8 percent total, 10 percent were women and 7 percent were men. Some 14 percent of those surveyed were aged 18 to 29, with the users' percentage decreasing with every increasing age target range.

Latinos and African Americans led the way in Twitter use, with 18 percent and 13 percent of users surveyed, respectively. Only 5 percent of those called said they used Twitter.

Eleven percent of those users claimed to live in a city, compared with 8 percent hailing from the suburbs and 5 percent coming from rural environs.

Pew also found that 36 percent of these users check for Twitter tweets posted by others on a daily basis or multiple times per day. This is comparable to the 41 percent who say they check the site less than every few weeks, or never do so at all.

What do those users do once they check in?

  • 72% of Twitter users post updates related to their personal life, activities or interests.

  • 62% post updates related to their work life, activities or interests.

  • 55% of these Twitter users share links to news stories.

  • 54% post humorous or philosophical observations about life.

  • 53% retweet material posted by others.

  • 52% send direct messages to other users.

  • 40% share photos with others on Twitter.

  • 28% share videos on Twitter.

  • 24% tweet their location.

Clearly, while general tweeting is robust on Twitter, far fewer users publish rich media such as photos and videos to the Website.

It will be interesting to see how or if Twitter leverages these Pew demographics to improve engagement in its services going forward.