Twitter Takes Off

Percentage of daily users has doubled since May 2011.

There’s good news for federal agencies that are using Twitter feeds to connect and communicate with the public: the percentage of online Americans who use Twitter on a typical day has doubled since May 2011 and quadrupled since late 2010, according to a new report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

The survey found that the percentage of online Americans using Twitter on a daily basis is now at 8 percent, up from 4 percent in 2011 and 2 percent in 2010. Overall, the percentage of online Americans using the microblogging website has risen to 15 percent, up from 8 percent in November 2010, the survey found.

Not surprisingly, young adults use Twitter more than any other age group, with 26 percent of Internet users ages 18 to 29 using the website. That number is even higher for the youngest Internet users (age 18-24), 31 percent of whom are Twitter users, the survey found. This marks a sharp increase in Twitter usage among young adults since 2010, when just 16 percent of those ages 18 to 24 said they used Twitter.

Twitter usage was lower for other age groups: 14 percent for those ages 30 to 49, 9 percent for those ages 50 to 64, and just 4 percent for those over age 65. Still, Twitter usage rates are up over 2010 levels for all of those age groups, Pew found.

As agencies look to develop their mobility plans as part of the White House’s new digital strategy, they also might take note that there is a strong correlation of Twitter use with the use of mobile technology, particularly smartphones. One in five smartphone owners are Twitter users, with 13 percent using the service on a typical day. Internet users who own more basic mobile phones, however, are not as likely to use Twitter (9 percent do so), and just 3 percent of more basic mobile phone owners are typical day users, according to the survey.

“This correlation between Twitter adoption and smartphone ownership may help to explain the recent growth in Twitter usage among young adults,” the report states. “Those ages 18-24 are not just the fastest growing group when it comes to Twitter adoption over the last year -- they also experienced the largest increase in smartphone ownership of any demographic group over the same time period.”