Only 8% of Americans Use Twitter – Fewer Still Use it Right

If a tree falls and you tweet about it, does anyone read it? Does anyone care?

A recent survey by Pew Research Center shows that only 8% of Americans have a Twitter account, and only half of those even use it. Less frequently do those twitter users even check Twitter more than once a day, with a total of 72% of Twitter users tweeting about personal updates, and 21% never bothering to check for updates from others. International usage is harder to measure, but that’s about like everyone in New York City shouting through a megaphone while wearing ear plugs.

What does this mean? Twitter is kind of like a secret society for consumers and the businesses that use Twitter. Customer service channels on Twitter are open and ready to help – so savvy consumers can expect a fast and dedicated response until a problem is resolved. Twitter is also a place for savvy B2B partnerships as businesses can publicly communicate for better (and free) PR, and these discussions are both searchable and followable by their consumers.

However, if no one is following these businesses – or following you – using Twitter doesn’t matter. How can you make the most of being only one of barely 4% of Americans using Twitter at least once per day? Here’s a few tips on how to use Twitter for maximum benefits:

1. Talk with others – and not just about the amazing peanut butter and banana sandwich you had for lunch.
2. Share interesting and/or funny articles, videos and photos with other like-minded friends and followers to start and contribute to ongoing discussions.
3. Follow others. Take an interest in others. You are not a celebrity. (Unless, of course, you are one, in which case, you’re excused.)
4. Use Twitter to make real friends. Tweet-ups are a lot of fun, and often include free drinks, food, and potential opportunities. Use the DM function to gather friends for Happy Hours. Just be careful to not say anything on Twitter you wouldn’t publish on a blog or say in a face-to-face conversation. Anyone can copy and paste what you tweet.

Do you have a Twitter account? Do you use it actively? Or do think Twitter is an unnecessary place where lots of people are talking about nothing to no one?

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  • Anonymous

    They’re trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. And trying to change my behavior instead of enhance it.

    - If I want friends to see my pictures, I post them to Facebook.

    - If I want the world (or my “elastic network”) to see my pictures, I post them to Twitter.

    I can’t think of a reason I would want random other people near me on the street or in a restaurant to see the picture I just took. The only possible answer – bragging rights. Like “hey, I just took the best angle of that home run that 5000 of you also took!” Um, who cares?

    I also don’t need any more deal sites or coupons. I’m already bored with Groupon and LivingSocial.

    And yeah, the ability to see all of my photos on my phone is simply a no-go.

    I hate to be so negative. I am though, because I see Color as a symptom of a greater problem – it appears our industry has not learned the lessons of the past and are doomed to repeat.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think you get it.

    The only photos of mine that get shared with you are those taken when you were in the vicinity, which means you would have been able to see said “shenanigans” with your own eyes. And nothing forces me to always use Color when taking photos. I’d only use it exactly when I want to share photos with the people around me also sharing photos.

    • http://profiles.google.com/chris.l.holden Chris Holden

      In my testing that doesn’t seem to be accurate. Photos taken one one device far away from another device (with color, in their own group) are available as a group to join on the 2nd device once the two devices are brought into proximity.

  • http://twitter.com/neilawatson Neil Watson

    I couldn’t agree more with you. Some of the scenarios I’ve read where Color “adds value” aren’t just creepy, they are plain wrong.

    If people start using Color (and therefore their phones) in restaurants then that ruins my experience. Have we reached a point yet where enough is enough in terms of gadget-augmented-life?

    Anyway, great article, I’ve just linked to you from my post on this very subject!