So much social media research is statistical crappola that I wanted to highlight some of the best work going on out there right now.

Luckily for us The Pew Internet & American Life Project has turned its attention to social media and has already put out some very interesting reports. This week they unveiled their first all-Twitter study and found a few things that were frankly a little surprising to me.  A high-level summary:

Some of the groups who are notable for their relatively high levels of Twitter use include:

  • Young adults – Internet users ages 18-29 are significantly more likely to use Twitter than older adults.
  • African-Americans and Latinos – Minority internet users are more than twice as likely to use Twitter as are white internet users.
  • Urbanites – Urban residents are roughly twice as likely to use Twitter as rural dwellers.

Women and the college-educated are also slightly more likely than average to use the service.

So in in summary .. I am EXACTLY the type of person NOT on Twitter!  I consider Twitter an important business networking tool that has been largely mysterious to younger people but this would indicate otherwise. Surprised me.  Here is a more detailed breakdown of the American Twitter scene:

Twitter users are nearly equally divided between those who check the site on a daily basis (or multiple times per day) and those who check the site infrequently or never. Just over one-third of Twitter users (36%) check for material posted by others on a daily basis or multiple times per day—this is roughly comparable to the two in five (41%) who say they check the site less than every few weeks, or never do so at all.

Overall, observations related to users’ personal or professional lives are the most popular types of updates, while location-based tweets and links to videos are the least commonly mentioned:

  • 72% of Twitter users in our sample say that they post updates related to their personal life, activities or interests. A total of one in five Twitter users (19%) say they post personal updates once a day or more.
  • 62% of those we queried said they post updates related to their work life, activities or interests, with 12% doing so on a daily basis.
  • 55% of these Twitter users share links to news stories. One in ten (12%) do this at least once a day.
  • 54% of these Twitter users say they post humorous or philosophical observations about life in general, with 16% doing so on a daily basis.
  • 53% of these Twitter users use Twitter to retweet material posted by others, with 18% doing so on a daily basis.
  • 52% of these Twitter users send direct messages to other users, with 11% doing so on a daily basis.
  • 40% use Twitter to share photos with others, with 12% doing so at least once a day.
  • 28% use Twitter to share videos with others. Fewer than one in ten Twitter users (8%) do this once a day or more.
  • 24% use the service to tweet their location, with 7% of users doing so on a daily basis.

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