Tweet This: Only 8 Percent of You Are Even Using Twitter

By Mikal E. Belicove|For|December 9, 2010

Have you ever been an observer or an unwilling participant in an event — or even an entire era — that left you asking yourself, “What am I missing here?” Disco immediately comes to mind. For kids growing up in the late ’90s, maybe it was the Giga Pet craze. And whomever it was who came up with the notion that a “couples wedding shower” is a fun idea should be shot.

So when the Internet message center called Twitter was launched in July of 2006 and became the most popular online activity among techies, talkers and Tinseltown tweeters, it left me scratching my head. “What am I missing here?

Apparently not much, if a just-released survey by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project is to be believed. In phone interviews with roughly 2,250 adults 18 and older, conducted over a three- to four-week period, Pew found that only 8 percent of American adults who use the Internet are Twitter users.

Now this isn’t the first survey Pew has conducted that examined Twitter users. In eight surveys between August 2008 and September 2010, Pew asked participants whether they used Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves or to see updates about others. The key words here are “or another service.”

In August 2008, 6 percent of Internet users said “yes” to the question. In September 2010, 24 percent of Internet users said “yes.” Pretty impressive growth, wouldn’t you say? But since the questions covered much more than just Twitter use, the resulting figures were inflated and misunderstood by many who clearly thought the survey referred only to Twitter users.

Thus the decision to move forward with the November 2010 survey, which put forth a straightforward question: “Do you use Twitter?” That’s it. No embellishments, no addendums. Just one simple question. And, indeed, the Twitter-specific survey results show that only 8 percent of adults say they use Twitter, and only 2 percent of those do so on a daily basis.

That’s a far cry from news and business reports touting Twitter’s takeover of the social media universe. Oh, and get this: Since 74 percent of American adults are Internet users, a more accurate head-count results in Twitter aficionados accounting for only 6 percent of the entire adult population!

Kinda makes you want to stroke your Giga Pet, doesn’t it?

The latest Pew survey also includes some demographic information and usage statistics about…

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