NOTE: We have updated our Methodology section with more information on question wording and published a commentary about the challenges of measuring a rapidly changing industry.
Some 19% of internet users now say they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves, or to see updates about others. This represents a significant increase over previous surveys in December 2008 and April 2009, when 11% of internet users said they use a status-update service.
Three groups of internet users are mainly responsible for driving the growth of this activity: social network website users, those who connect to the internet via mobile devices, and younger internet users – those under age 44.
In addition, the more devices someone owns, the more likely they are to use Twitter or another service to update their status. Fully 39% of internet users with four or more internet-connected devices (such as a laptop, cell phone, game console, or Kindle) use Twitter, compared to 28% of internet users with three devices, 19% of internet users with two devices, and 10% of internet users with one device.
The median age of a Twitter user is 31, which has remained stable over the past year. The median age for MySpace is now 26, down from 27 in May 2008, and the median age for LinkedIn is now 39, down from 40. Facebook, however, is graying a bit: the median age for this social network site is now 33, up from 26 in May 2008.
It will probably become more difficult to track status updating as an independent activity as social network updates feed into Twitter and vice versa. For now, it is clear that a “social segment” of internet users is flocking to both social network sites and status update services. This segment is likely to grow as ever more internet users adopt mobile devices as a primary means of going online.
About the Survey
This report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans' use of the internet. Unless otherwise noted, the results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research International between August 18 to September 14, 2009, among a sample of 2,253 adults, 18 and older. The survey was conducted on landline and cell phones. Interviews were conducted in both English (n=2,179) and Spanish (n=74). 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 2.3 percentage points. For results based on internet users (n=1,698), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 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. The response rate to the survey was 15.6%. [More