Monday, August 31, 2009

Teens Do Tweet - but it's still lame, sorta.

At long last there appears to be a definitive examination of teens' opinions and use of Twitter. In several mainstream articles published recently (like this one) and in at least one post here (like this one) we have all been, apparently, much too quick to write off the teen Twitter market based on either flawed data or misinterpreted anecdotes.

Geoff Cook, co-founder and CEO of MyYearbook has an article over at TechCrunch that presents the results of a survey of more than 10,000 teens between the ages of 13 and 17 with an eye toward adding something new to the answer. It turns out the questions asked were flawed. Says Cook:
"To date, reasons given for the alleged aversion of teens to Twitter have ranged from the condescending “Because they have nothing to say,” to the responsible “Because it doesn’t feel safe,” to the Letterman-like “Because they can’t afford it” — at least without a mobile data plan."

"Of course, all of these reasons are predicated on the widely accepted notion that “Teens Don’t Tweet” — that there is a phenomenon that needs to be explained. As recently as last week even, the New York Times cited the fact that only 11% of Twitter is teen as evidence of Twitter’s unpopularity to that group."
"As it turns out, teens actually tweet more than the general population, prompting Silicon Valley Insider to say yesterday, “Kids Don’t Hate Twitter Anymore.” According to comScore, Twitter’s unique visitor composition index in the 12 – 17 age group is 118 (a value over 100 represents a higher concentration of unique visitors from that age group as compared to the age group’s concentration across the entire web). More interestingly, Twitter’s 12 – 17 composition index of 118 is higher than its composition index in the 25 – 34 and 35 – 44 age groups. The bottom line: Twitter actually skews more teen than the average site, and much more teen than Facebook."
Much more and some cool charts at the article.

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