Is Twitter for old people?

According to a report from Nielsen,  the largest number of visitors to twitter.com are in the 35-49 category.

Twitter Most Popular Among Working Adults

Twitterers (a.k.a. Tweeters) are not primarily teens or college students as you might expect. In fact, in February the largest age group on Twitter was 35-49; with nearly 3 million unique visitors, comprising almost 42 percent of the site’s audience. We found that the majority of people visit Twitter.com while at work, with 62 percent of the combo unique audience accessing the site from work only versus 35 percent that accessed it from home only.

Unique Visitors to Twitter.com by Age Demographic

Age Group Unique Audience Composition %
2-17 250,000 3.6
18 – 24 ** **
25 – 34 1,379,000 19.6
35 – 49 2,935,000 41.7
55+ 1,165,000 16.6
65+ 477,000 6.8

source: Nielsen NetView, 2/09, U.S., Home and Work
**These demographics have insufficient sample sizes

My only concern for this data is that I’m not sure what “insufficient sample sizes” means. I’d be curious how the 18-24 category compares, as that’s the demographic that academic librarians are trying to reach.  But from the data that is presented, Twitter does seem to be used primarily by the older (i.e., not college kids) crowd.

Pew Research Center with Twitter demographics

Pew Research Center: Twitterpated: Mobile Americans Increasingly Take to Tweeting.

This article from Pew has a lot of Twitter demographics:

A look at the demographic profile of Twitter users as a whole reveals some additional details about who uses Twitter and how they communicate and consume information.

As noted above, Twitter users are overwhelmingly young. However, unlike the majority of other applications with a similarly large percentage of youth, Twitter use is not dominated by the youngest of young adults. Indeed, the median age of a Twitter user is 31. In comparison, the median age of a MySpace user is 27, Facebook user is 26 and LinkedIn user is 40.5

Twitter users are slightly more racially and ethnically diverse than is the full U.S. population, most likely because they are younger — and younger Americans are a more ethnically and racially diverse group than is the full population.

Twitter users are also slightly more likely to live in urban areas, with 35% of Twitter users living in urban areas (compared with 29% of all internet users) and just 9% of Twitterers and status updaters living in rural areas, compared with 17% of internet users.

Are the Creators of Twitter Living in the Last Dreamworld on Earth? — New York Magazine

Are the Creators of Twitter Living in the Last Dreamworld on Earth? — New York Magazine.

Still trying to understand Twitter?  This article is one of the best that I’ve read, as it discusses a little bit of the tech, and a lot of the folks, behind Twitter.  I highly recommend it to read and to pass on to others who might not “get” what Twitter is all about.  So what is Twitter about?

“Twitter is not about the triumph of technology. It’s about the triumph of the human spirit,” says Twitter founder Biz Stone.

Facebook vs Twitter

Facebook vs Twitter on TwitTip

Trying to figure out the difference between Twitter and Facebook?  This post may be helpful in understanding the two social networks, and perhaps help you decide whch one is for you.

Comcast’s Twitter Man: Meeting the Needs of Customers with Twitter

Are you thinking of using twitter to reach customers or library patrons?  If so, this article from Business Week is a really informative read, and shows how actual questions and problems were resolved by using twitter. It serves as a good model for libraries who want to use twitter to help patrons and promote news and events.

One thing that I found especially interesting was the concept of a person, rather than an institution, twittering.  I know many libraries have started twittering, but many of these libraries tweet as the institution, with no person or face to tie the account to.  Here’s what Frank, aka @ComcastCares, says about having a face on twitter:

It’s not unusual for customers to address Frank or his team members by name. “Originally when I started to do this, I used the Comcast symbol instead of my picture,” says Frank. “Then I listened to some customer feedback, and one was: ‘Where’s your picture?’ Now when they think Comcast, they think Frank. Right now I have 5,700 followers. They know about my family Web site. It gives a face to Comcast.” Frank’s other Twitter team members go by the names ComcastBill and ComcastGeorge.

I think Frank makes a very important point here.  I believe our users will be more inclined to communicate with us via twitter, or even follow us, if we use twitter to give our library a face.  In other words, use twitter to increase your library’s presence and outreach to patrons, but don’t have a picture of your logo or you building.  Twitter is all about connecting with people, so make sure your library twitter account is a real person.