Tom Webster, writing and speaking

Is One in Five a Little...or a Lot?

Added on by Tom Webster.

I know, I know--I wrote about this yesterday. Today, however, I continue to see a constant barrage of tweets about this stat, and now this headline from MediaPost: Millenials Among Those Who Don't Appreciate Twitter. First of all, the article gets the stat wrong--it isn't 22% of 18-26 year-olds in the study that indicated they use Twitter, it's 22% of 18-24 year-olds. Typo, maybe, but it's one in a long, long series of innumerate crimes against data the social web commits every day (/rant). The original PMN data release, I think, has the right spin: "Twitter Has Yet To Catch On," if we read "catch on" as "be used by the majority." The reporting of this stat, however, has almost gleefully interpreted this datapoint as the MediaPost article has, that Millenials "don't appreciate Twitter." It is waaayyyyy too early to draw that kind of conclusion, especially when you look at the overall trajectory of Twitter--if a snapshot of such a moving target is feasible. Consider: Compete.com shows the most recent unique user count for Twitter.com to be about 20 million. 20 million--if they were even all Americans (they are clearly not) would be less than 8% of persons 12+ in America. The figure presented in this study for Millenials suggests that "only" 22% of 18-24 year olds use Twitter--nearly three times as likely as the gen pop 12+. How does that translate to "only," or not appreciated? The 22% looks small only when compared to the 99% figure (persons 18-24 who use any social network in this particular study) but I would hazard a guess that the 22% is going to grow a whole lot more than the 99%!

In our last Infinite Dial study, we reported that about 30% of Americans 12+ owned an Apple-branded iPod. Only three in ten--I hope they catch on!