A new report from Edison Research called Twitter Usage in America: 2010 makes at least one thing abundantly clear — people in the U.S. know about Twitter. What is less clear, and far more significant to marketers, not to mention the future course of Twitter, is do they know what to do with it?
Edison’s findings show that Americans’ awareness of Twitter has exploded from 5 percent in 2008 to 87 percent in 2010, launching it into the same stratosphere as Facebook (88%) in terms of awareness in the U.S. In fact, a larger percentage of Americans above the age of 12 know about Twitter than have access to the Internet (85%).
The other side of the coin is that despite the nationwide recognition, the percentage of the population that actively uses Twitter is 7 percent, approximately 17 million users. Again, in comparison, 41 percent of Americans currently have a profile page on Facebook.
It seems that most Americans are still unsure about how to best utilize Twitter or if they have a need for it at all, but the study also reveals that the majority of those who do use it (51%) follow specific companies, brands and products. Edison also determined that nearly two-thirds of active Twitter users access social networking sites via their mobile phones.
Other findings from the Edison Research Twitter Usage in America report include:
• Twitter users are three times more likely to follow brands and companies on Twitter than on other social sites
• 47 percent of Twitter users post status updates
• 70 percent of those users post updates to other social sites as well
• 39 percent of Twitter users own three or more computers
• 25 percent of the Twitter population is African American