February 12, 2009

Twitter and status updating

About Us, Methodology

About the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project

The Pew Internet Project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. The Pew Internet Project explores the impact of the internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care and civic/political life. The Project is nonpartisan and takes no position on policy issues. Support for the project is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Methodology

This report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans’ use of the Internet. The bulk of the results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between November 19 and December 20, 2008 among a sample of 2,253 adults, 18 and older, including 502 cell phone interviews as well as interviews conducted in Spanish. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 2 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,650), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Data on Twitter, blogs and news consumption is from Pew Internet’s November 2008 Post-Election Survey, fielded between November 20 and December 4, 2008 with an n of 2,254 adults 18 and older and a margin of error +/- 2 percentage points for the total sample. For the sample based on internet users (n=1591) the margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points.

One data point in the memo is from our May 2008 survey fielded from April 8 to May 11, 2008, among a sample of 2,251 adults, 18 and older. For results based on the total sample in the May survey, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,553), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting telephone surveys may introduce some error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.