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Nobody Goes There Anymore, It’s Too Crowded

Everybody uses Twitter, right?  The latest Pew Research Center study — they seem to have a new one every day — says that 8% of online Americans use Twitter.  That translates into 6% of the overall population. So, no, not everyone uses Twitter, even if it seems that way and all your friends are on there and they tell you that zillions of people are tweeting away.

Analysis and blather after the jump:

That’s typical — even the hottest trends aren’t universal.  And a lot of people try things out and then abandon them, and Twitter would fit with that.  But it’s interesting that something so widely known and assumed to be part of everyone’s life by now really isn’t.

That doesn’t mean it’s bad, though.  Twitter has plenty of users and people find value in it.  If YOU use it, it really doesn’t matter if others don’t.  But for something that’s become a household word, those numbers are pretty surprising.

How active are you on Twitter?  What do you use it for?  And what Twitter feeds do you find interesting, useful, and worth following?  Please don’t say Ashton Kutcher.

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18 comments

  • I don’t use Twitter. At first it just seemed redundant with Facebook but then it just became annoying as people kept telling me to join.

    I get stubborn :)

    Now though ther are people I’d want to follow as they seem fun but I worry there’d be 100s and 100s I’d want to follow as it seems anyone interesting has a Twitter account. I waste enough time with FB I don’t know if I need another big time waster.

  • I use Twitter for amusement and information, and most of my posting is me having a bad day and wanting pity, or seeing something funny and wanting to share.

    On the other hand, I don’t use Facebook. I think one of my reasons is just stubbornly refusing to get on the bandwagon (holla, @coconutphone), but I also associate Facebook with a level of privacy invasion I don’t get from Twitter. Plus the notion of catching up with old classmates is fairly unattractive.

  • I use it because it allows me extra entries for contests. In many cases, if you follow them on twitter and you retweet, you get extra entries. I’ve won on several occasions because of that, but I don’t get on otherwise. I don’t check my feed or tweet about my life.

  • Twitter is where I go to complain before I bother people with by ranting in real life and before the bitter thoughts simmer in my head until I’m forced to write a 50,000 word blog entry. It’s basically a garbage disposal for my unwanted thoughts. But for some reason people follow me… One (wo)man’s trash is another’s treasure?

    It’s also a good substitute far carrying around a notebook. I often expand on my 140-character messages later on in other formats.

  • I don’t think it’s that surprising. A great deal of workplaces are now reliant on the internet, and older demographics use the internet for plenty of reasons besides social networking. The internet isn’t cool any more, it’s just a part of life. The survey doesn’t say if that percentage is rising or dropping.

    Also, what is this ‘jump’ you keep referencing? Is there a jump? I’ve never noticed one.

  • I use it regularly, and it serves the function of a Facebook status without all the pictures, relationship updates, and apps. About 2/3 of the people I follow are just actors/tv shows/websites I enjoy. I (grudgingly) have Facebook, too, but barely use it.

  • I used to use Twitter a lot. It’s great for breaking news–for the Ft. Hood shooting as well as some other major events, I got tidbits of information faster from Twitter than from news. Someone on the ground would tweet what they were seeing to then be reported on by a news outlet 4 minutes later. It’s also good fun following celebrities and other people of interest.

    I used to contribute commentary to different political topics and events. There was also a time where I would have tweets about personal things, but then I became much more privacy conscious. Now, I hardly post anything for fear of having anything come back to bite me in ten years. I will still add updates from Goodreads account as well as my own blog. It’s a good tool to network in that regard. I just wish there was a happy medium between having your tweets searchable and completely accesible and having them completely hidden to anyone but those you approve.

  • I use it fairly regularly. I think the thing I love most, beside the treasure trove of information that people share, is the comedians/funny people that come up with decent one-liners. :) Gives me a good giggle during my crap day job. I do keep my feed private though, lest anyone from work wise up.

  • I don’t post much on twitter (mostly retweet interesting news stories), but it is unbeatable for breaking local news. My city just went through a major snowstorm and twitter was my go-to source for up to the minute info on closures etc.

  • I have a twitter account, but I find myself easily annoyed with the mundane crap that people tweet about. I think I’ve only checked my account twice since establishing it…a year ago. Plus reading the txt abbreviations for long periods of time makes me feel as though my head is turning into aspic. I am not ashamed to admit that I’m happy to see that I’m not the only one who sees this as a pointless waste of precious time.

  • Damn. so much negativity about Twitter.

    I LOVE TWITTER.

    Recommended follows:

    @nerdist of course, how has this not been mentioned yet?
    @Mythbusters
    @donttrythis
    @grantimahara
    @craigyferg
    @SteveMartinToGo
    @JimGaffigan
    @ZacharyLevi
    @Busyphilipps25
    @ChelseaVPeretti
    @nlj (me)

  • This makes me think of a recently canceled show that seemed popular on twitter.

    If 6% of the population uses twitter and if .5% of twitter users say they watch a show and Nielsen says that show was watched by 500,000 people that means almost 20% of the viewers of said show tweeted about it? That math seems not to add up.

    Let’s assume it does, though. If 20% of your audience skews tech-savvy (maybe yuppie?) and socially connected isn’t that a GOOD thing? For example, consider: http://cdn.mashable.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/neilsen-versus-buzz.png Who should advertisers find more valuable, the 10.7 million watching “Dancing with the Stars” or the 6.3 million watching “Lost”? I’m betting the 600K+ social mentions of the latter probably correlate with a lot more spending than the “what is this internet thing?” number associated with the former.

  • I don’t Twitter. I figure it’s unnecessary since I have a blog, a Facebook account, AIM, and a cellphone. If people want to know what I’m thinking, there are more than enough venues available.

    But sometimes I want a Twitter account. Not to put up stupid 140 character statuses, and not to follow people. (You can follow via RSS after all.) I want a Twitter account for another stupid reason that no one else mentions – blogs and websites often have contests available for Twitter users only. I probably wouldn’t win, but I don’t like being left out.

  • I got a twitter account when my parents joined facebook, and had a comment for EVERY STATUS I ever made. Or they called me about my status. I once randomly posted a status about having a headache, and a couple hours later, my mom called me to ask me if I’d taken anything for it and if I was getting enough rest and drinking enough water. I had already forgotten about the status and the headache at that point! So now, twitter is sort of my replacement for facebook status updates, since my parents haven’t discovered that… yet.