Are teenagers using Twitter?

I came across this link in Will Richardson‘s twitter stream this morning about Twitter usage by teenagers.

According to a 15-year-old intern at Morgan Stanley, Matthew Robson, teenagers eschew Twitter, don’t read newspapers and want ad-free music from online tools like Pandora, Slacker and From the story:

“Teenagers do not use Twitter,” he pronounced. Updating the micro-blogging service from mobile phones costs valuable credit, he wrote, and “they realise that no one is viewing their profile, so their tweets are pointless”.

I think we’ve all known that Facebook is getting more use than Twitter in this age group, though I suppose its good to hear it from someone in that demo.

Have you seen Twitter usage among teenagers increasing or staying the same at your institution?

10 thoughts on “Are teenagers using Twitter?”

  1. With the campuses I work with (esp the campuses I have worked on) I have seen an increase in twitter. Facebook is still king, and they think LinkedIn is for old people, but twitter is starting to show on the radar. It is still small in #’s but I would guess it is growing.

  2. We have more younger people follow our university twitter every day. I don’t have statistics, but it’s what I see.

  3. I attended the YPulse conference on teen marketing about a month ago. The universal consensus–among teens, market researchers, analysts, journalists, and people who market to teens–is that teens are not using Twitter right now. Even enrolled college/university students don’t seem to be taking it up in significant numbers.

    Since this seems to be pretty much the accepted wisdom among people who interact with teens day-to-day (with large marketing & advertising budgets), it’s pretty amazing to me that this was such big news to Morgan Stanley.

  4. Interesting that I should see this now. My 16-year-old daughter just asked me how she can cancel her Twitter account that she just opened. She has proclaimed it “stupid”. I tried to convince her to keep an open mind, but to no avail. Even though she and her 300-plus Facebook friends spend their life Facebooking and texting, they don’t use Twitter at all, apparently. It just doesn’t fit their life.

  5. For perspective, check out:

    At the link above, Suw Charman-Anderson puts the brief frenzy over the “research note” into some context that has been missing from a lot of the discussion about it. The comments about it here are similar to those on other sites, with most of us saying “I guess…” or “I think” or “it seems that” or “apparently.” It’s not research, it’s one kid’s commentary on himself and his friends. It’s thoughtful and interesting, but it’s not the final word.

  6. We ran polls about Twitter through our student portal twice this year, to see how things have changed. (

    In February, 8% of students who filled in the poll used Twitter. 59% did not know what Twitter is.

    In July, 12% were using Twitter, another 9% had tried it and found it not to their liking and left, and 15% did not know what Twitter is.

    Twitter has seen a huge rise in the number of user profiles – but a much smaller rise in active users, and many of those profiles are now abandoned. It has also seen a huge rise in public awareness, thanks to Stephen Fry and that US Air crash in New York.

  7. I completely agree with Michael Stoner. In fact, I’m surprised this story is so big. I read the article yesterday and it all seemed pretty obvious to me. Teens aren’t on Twitter b/c they’re not on their computers all day like a lot of professionals, and they don’t have the money to pay for smart phones and data packages. Plus, it’s just not as cool as Facebook.

  8. Barbara Clements

    Def. Facebook in king at PLU, but I’ve noticed more twitter accounts popping up among the students. The demographic is def. older on twitter and teens (my daughter included) don’t use it at all.

    Why should they? They are texting with their friends 24-7 anyway.

  9. I know at our college, students have been joining more and more. But what’s been more interesting is that we have seen an influx of high school followers who will be coming to our school. Granted, it’s a very specific purpose they’re following us for, but it does mean they are there.

  10. I have 15 year old twins. One uses twitter; the other does not. The one that does use twitter has a small following of friends that follow his twitter feed. (Which I also follow just to keep an out for potential troulble, btw.)

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