Tag Archives: Twitter

Quick Tip: Twitter demographics

As you think about whether Twitter makes sense for your next communication campaign, here are the latest Twitter usage and demographic stats:

“As of December 2008, 11% of online American adults said they used a service like Twitter or another service that allowed them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others,” according to a Pew Internet & American Life Report.

Other findings:

  1. Twitter and similar services have been most avidly embraced by young adults. Nearly one in five (19%) online adults ages 18 and 24 have ever used Twitter and its ilk, as have 20% of online adults 25 to 34. 
  2. Use of these services drops off steadily after age 35 with 10% of 35 to 44 year olds and 5% of 45 to 54 year olds using Twitter. The decline is even more stark among older internet users; 4% of 55-64 year olds and 2% of those 65 and older use Twitter.
  3. The use of Twitter is highly intertwined with the use of other social media; both blogging and social network use increase the likelihood than an individual also uses Twitter. 
  4. Twitter users and status updaters are also a mobile bunch; as a group they are much more likely to be using wireless technologies — laptops, handhelds and cell phones — for internet access, or cell phones for text messaging.

Overall, Twitter users engage with news and own technology at the same rates as other internet users, but the ways in which they use the technology — to communicate, gather and share information — reveals their affinity for mobile, untethered and social opportunities for interaction. 

View PDF of Report

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Does Twitter have a civic engagement role?

Does Twitter have a civic engagement role?

I’m still not sure, but here’s a possible answer based on excerpts of an account told at Poynter.

The piece below, edited for brevity, suggests that for public hearings, agency leadership policy presentations and the like, Twitter may offer some potential for extending your reach beyond what the media may – or may not – cover, and do so in a very transparent way.  

Did Use of Twitter During Mich. Governor’s Speech Improve Reporting?

“Something happened Tuesday night that has me again thinking of the journalistic dimensions of Twitter.

I tuned in an Internet broadcast of Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm‘s annual state of the state speech because it was expected to be laden with energy and environment issues. On impulse I logged into Twitter and asked my followers if there had been a hashtag established for the speech. There was: MiSOTS (Mich. State of the State).

To my amazement, the hashtag had been established by the governor’s staff — who were tweeting major points of Granholm’s speech as she made them.

Meanwhile, many, many, many other people used this hashtag to challenge points, support points, do some partisan sniping, question assumptions, add perspective, speculate about what was going on, and provide links to supporting information — including a transcript of the speech and the opposite (Republican) party’s response.

The strongest flurry of supportive MiSOTS-tagged posts came when the governor asked the state’s universities to freeze tuition. Perhaps that’s reflective of a college student demographic among Twitter users.

At times I felt like I was in the back of the room, discussing points immediately as they came up but without getting angry stares from others for interrupting the speech.

…I’m still wondering if this is journalism or simply very cool civic engagement.

Perhaps the journalist’s role in this kind of activity is to simply help establish and publicize the hashtag. In this case, that wasn’t necessary because of the governor’s Twitter-savvy staff. But that won’t always be the case. And journalists (like any other Twitter user) can still play a role in publicizing the relevant hashtags in play.

Using good news judgment to spot when a hashtag may aid tracking breaking news or an unfolding issue, and knowing how to establish and promote a hashtag, can be a key journalistic skill. News breaks, people start discussing it on Twitter, but no hashtag appears until the discussion is well underway (making earlier tweets harder to track). Establishing hashtags early can communicate the value of good news judgment and aid the coherence of stories in social media.

Plus, a news organization has a longer reach. Establishing and publicizing news-related hashtags encourages even more of this kind of interaction — although I’m guessing that too much would not be a good thing.

Perhaps a news organization could become become popular for spotting hashtag opportunities and quickly spreading the word. It might also try tracking down tweeters of interesting comments for traditional interviews.”

Guest contributor Dave Poulson is Associate Director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University.

(Via E-Media Tidbits.)

In case you aren’t a Twitter quitter

OK – I admit it. I don’t get Twitter except as a possible sign that the end days are upon us.  I’ve tortured it around to be useful in a couple of hypothetical situations that are totally unfeasible due to time or sensible clients’ protecting their budgets. However, in case you’re curious or have had an inspiration on how to use it, you can find clear, simple descriptions of how to make it work here and here.