Teens increasingly moving the conversation to Twitter

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For some time, I’ve been hearing that younger people are moving away from Facebook and congregating on Twitter for two reasons:

1) Mom probably isn’t on Twitter.

2) It’s a great place to follow favorite celebrities

Although there isn’t a lot of data to answer the “why,” new research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project confirms that Twitter is indeed experiencing a youth movement. But there is something more interesting here too …

Twitter research 2013While the number of teens on Twitter has more than doubled since late 2010, isn’t interesting to see that 5% dip between last August and December of 2012?

While the margin of error could contribute to that aberration, this implies that there is a probability that 17 percent of all teens using Twitter stopped using the service within a six-month period in 2012. That’s kind of mind-boggling, especially since there is no commensurate drop in the usage across other demographics to point to some issue that would affect everyone.

Any idea what could have happened last year?

Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and Rosaura Ochoa

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  • Interesting, I wonder how this will impact advertising and marketing as a whole?

  • lunafly


  • You’re dealing with a very fickle audience when you start talking about that age group. They jump all around between Twitter, SnapChat, Ask.fm and Tumblr. The drop could easily be that the first “wave” of them had already signed on and it was around that time that SnapChat became VERY big with them.

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  • Chris S. Cornell

    The survey did not even include most teens. The youngest age group surveyed was 18-29, so most of them were not even teenagers. The survey did not include the 13-17 group we all know has embraced Twitter in the past year or so.

    I would be extremely hesitant to rely on small ups and downs from a survey that only involved 1,895 people (that’s less than 200 people per age group on average, so a dip involving 5% of group could be caused by just 10 people).

  • I think you’re right, Kristen. I have a teen in this age group, and her answer matched your observations.

  • Purely anecdotal, but as someone who is near the younger age group, I know a ton of people who got on Twitter and left within a few months or a year. I think if you go look at the majority of Twitter feeds for people in the “teen” category, it’s easy to understand why — most people, even teens, don’t want to listen to each other piss and moan about how horrible their life, parents, etc. are 25 tweets a day.

    Aside from that, there’s a lot of drama and BS that gets carried into Twitter from many in the younger age group. It’s not really a surprise since we’re dealing with typical teenagers and 20-somethings.

    I know a lot of people who left purely for those reasons.

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  • Mark,

    Is this the wrong graph? Age group that I think you’re referring to is 18-29, hardly a TEEN age group. I guess you could call 18 year olds, teenagers, though I’d think few parents would agree with that definition.

    Where is the 13-17 trend line — that is the one the title of the blog suggests you’re speaking of….

  • Rachel Strella

    This is just theory, but the election could have something to do with it – for two reasons.

    1. The drop was in the millennial generation. I’ve read a myriad of stories that seem to indicate that millennial voters had apathy in the 2012 election. Some seem to believe that they gave unwavering support in 2008 – to Obama – and did not see the change they anticipated by 2012. (Disclaimer: I do not necessarily agree with this).

    2. Twitter tends to be a primary source for news and information – including politics. Twitter is often mentioned first when reporting the social media metrics of candidate favoritism and election results. In fact, election night 2012 was the most tweeted event in history.

    I’m not fully convinced that the election is responsible, however – it’s only a thought. I find that drastic shifts in data tend to be the cause of a myriad of
    things, not necessary a single factor.

  • Glen Gerson

    Though it was known that social media have come up with a great impact on the young teenagers but after going through the facts and figures I find it really interesting and wonder how it’s going to affect the marketing as whole.

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  • Jeff Lutz

    The age groups have a lot to do with it. However, there were a lot of “cyberbullying” articles in the last half of the year. This could have possibly bled into the lowest age group (18-19 y/o), but wouldn’t explain the whole group of 18-29 y/o falling. If the 13-17 y/o were included in the survey, and there was a similar drop, I would suspect it was from parents pulling the plug on social media, for some of these kids from the stories.

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