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Pew says 8% of American adults who use Internet are Twitter users

December 8, 2010 |  9:01 pm

About 8% of American adults who use the Internet are Twitter users, with 2% using it on a typical day.

Twitter is particularly popular with young adults, minorities and those who live in cities.

Those were the findings of a tracking survey from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project.

With tens of millions of users, Twitter has popped up as a growing presence on Pew's radar, so Pew decided to try to measure Twitter usage. As part of its regular Internet tracking survey, it asked a specific question about Twitter use for the first time.

Pew estimates that 74% of American adults use the Internet, so it estimates that Twitter users account for 6% of the adult population in the United States. Twitter says it has more than 175 million registered users worldwide.

Notable among Pew's findings: Young adults ages 18 to 29 are significantly more likely to use Twitter than older adults. African Americans and Latinos are more than twice as likely to use Twitter than those who live in rural communities. Women and the college educated are also slightly more likely than average to use the service.

Pew also discovered that Twitter users are nearly equally divided between those who check the site daily and those who check it infrequently or never. More than a third of Twitter users (36%) check the site on a daily basis or multiple times a day; 2 in 5 (41%) say they check the site less than every few weeks or never check it at all. The remaining one-quarter of users say they check the site for updates a few days each week or every few weeks.

"People are increasingly relying on their social networks to find things that are of interest to them and make sense of the world around them," said Aaron Smith, a Pew senior research specialist. "For a segment of the online population, Twitter helps serve that role by giving them a place to share their thoughts, find news that their friends have deemed important and pass on things that they think are interesting or cool."

Other reports suggest that teens are not quite so keen on Twitter.

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-- Jessica Guynn

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