The people who use Twitter the most are young adults from 18 to 29 years old, African Americans, Latinos, and people living in cities, the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found in a study released Thursday. African Americans are more than twice as likely to use Twitter than whites, and urbanites were roughly twice as likely as rural dwellers.
While 8% of adult Web users are on Twitter, only about half of them use the micro-blogging site daily, the study found. The rest go to the site infrequently or not at all. Because 74% of Americans use the Web, Twitter users overall represent 6% of the entire U.S. adult population.
As to what people are saying on Twitter, the most popular tweets are observations about personal or professional lives, the survey shows. Location-based tweets and links to video are the least commonly items posted.
About seven in 10 Twitter users post updates about personal life, activities, or interests, with one in five doing so daily. Roughly six in 10 post work-related tweets, with one in 10 doing so daily.
Fully half of Twitter users share links to news stories, retweet material posted by others, and send direct messages to others, the survey found. Less than 30% of Twitter users share video with others and tweet their locations.
In a separate study, Sysomos, a social media analytics company, found that about 71% of tweets are ignored, an indication that people find a lot of the comments on the site not worth a reply or passing along to others. The firm found that less than 30% of tweets spark a reply and only 19% are retweeted.
Sysomos says the study validates what many people say of Twitter, that most comments on the site are mundane or too much about the doings of an individual that few people know.
The Pew study is based on interviews conducted in November with more than 2,250 Internet users.