The New York Times has a lengthy piece about Twitter and the teenage population, which seems to be reluctant to embark into the wonderful world of 140-character messages, hashtags and retweets. However, looking at the numbers which are the basis for the article, it seems like a wider issue, which isn’t necessarily only related to Twitter.
According to comScore, only 11 percent of Twitter users are aged 12 to 17. Although ages 13 to 19 actually fit the “teen” definition, this percentage does sound a bit low. However, the article states that at MySpaceMySpaceMySpace, teenagers account for 14 percent of users. On Facebook, this number is 9 percent.
So, while teenagers aren’t exactly all over Twitter, one can argue that they use it just as much as other social networks. We wrote about this phenomenon recently: if you expect teens to be a majority on Twitter, you’ll be surprised: they aren’t.
Twitter’s unparalleled explosion in popularity has been driven by a decidedly older group. That success has shattered a widely held belief that young people lead the way to popularizing innovations.
“The traditional early-adopter model would say that teenagers or college students are really important to adoption,” said Andrew Lipsman, director of industry analysis at comScore. Teenagers, after all, drove the early growth of the social networks Facebook, MySpace and Friendster.
Twitter, however, has proved that “a site can take off in a different demographic than you expect and become very popular,” he said. “Twitter is defying the traditional model.”
In fact, though teenagers fueled the early growth of social networks, today they account for 14 percent of MySpace’s users and only 9 percent of Facebook’s. As the Web grows up, so do its users, and for many analysts, Twitter’s success represents a new model for Internet success. The notion that children are essential to a new technology’s success has proved to be largely a myth.
Adults have driven the growth. And perhaps marketers.Not Brands, not the Pro Marketers from the big advertising companies, but the individual, the small web business, the guy with an idea.
Twitter is the best marketing tool out there, and its fee. And the individual entrepreneur has definitely found it.