Thursday, February 21, 2008

Twitterers: How old are you?



3/5 UPDATE: The average Twitter age is 37 with 150 responders.

I've been asking twitterers, people that microblog on Twitter.com, to tell me their age. The Twitterverse has been very patient as I've been asking "how old are you?" over and over on Twitter for the last 24 hours.

Why am I asking? Why are twitterers retweeting, aka reposting, the question to their Twitter followers/friends? It started yesterday afternoon.

I was in a qualitative research readout meeting. I, of course, can't give any research specifics as it's a closed project. Thanks for understanding.

We were discussing questions regarding online communications. I voiced my surprise that Twitter wasn't mentioned by any of the participants. The reply was something along the lines of "Twitter is for the young that it takes someone young to get it."

Having turned 40 this year and being an avid twitterer, I was a little taken aback by the youth comment, but heck, I didn't have any Twitter demographic stats. I posted a tweet about my surprise and my friend @kimdushinski responded:



So I posed the question, asked people to retweet it, kept posing it. And the ages rolled in.

Currently, the average Twitter age is 37 with 120 responders.

The youngest age reported so far is 14 and the oldest is 68.

Of course this is just an informal poll, with mostly my followers/friends responding. I know it's not scientific and it's self-reported, but my gut is telling me twitter's average age is in the mid-30s. Several twitterers that direct messaged me agree. Would love your thoughts @ev on twitter's average age.

And the unexpected benefit of asking a question to the twitterverse - new followers. What a wonderful surprise! Thanks to all my new friends for sharing your age with me and helping me out without knowing me. I'm looking forward to staying connected.

Thanks so much to all my Twitter friends that spread the word. A few that are top of mind are @warrenss, @chrisbrogan, @rickmurray, @jeffisageek, @conniereece, @creativesage, @pistachio and @linuxchic - I know I'm leaving out so many - Merci, merci, merci!

I'm going to continue to update the stat as more people send me their age. I'm not going to close the poll, there's no reason to, though I promise not to ask the question again :).

I'm keep you all posted through Twitter. I think we all are microblogging more than blogging these days anyway. More to come - thanks again!

18 comments:

Greg Swan said...

This is great! It's too bad Twitter doesn't capture basic demographic information in their registration and then make this basic information public. I suppose that would lend itself to an ad-model, which they don't seem to be pursuing in the near-future. I suppose the service has to be stable before you can make guarantees to advertisers. Not that I don't forgive it every single time. :) -@perfectporridge

(jeff)isageek said...

great work. look forward to seeing how it changes as you get more and more people.

Connie Reece said...

I've always guessed that the average age was mid-thirties, and I was close. Although this was a small sample, my gut tells me it's representative. And it was fun to participate in this impromptu project!

geekmommy said...

I would've said mid-30's... but then, my own timeline list ranges from teens to 60's.

I think, however, that's partially because the younger crowd has yet to migrate from direct texting.

David Gerbino said...

Z,

I believe their is a big misconception about who is online. I read a well respected bank blog a week ago and this person said people born before 1975 have trouble with bank websites. I was stunned since I am very web savvy and was born a bit before 1975 -- a decade before.

Thank fully you took matters into your own hands. Good for you.

marilink said...

It's an issue we always talk about: there are not so many teens in this community as in other places on the internet.
I've always calculated that the average (at least between my followings/followers) should be around 30, and your poll backs that.
As I retweeted and noticed many of my followers sent you their age, I posted about it today, in Spanish.
I find this kind of polls very interesting as the stats in twitter are not public and so difficult to get.
Cheers!

marilink said...

By the way the link is
http://marilink.blogspot.com/2008/02/la-edad-de-los-twitteros.html

diane said...

Through Twitter I've connected with thinkers and learners of all ages.

I'm an older user, but when you add my age in with that of my student/colleagues, we're right at the average.

And David, I'm one of the first wave of Baby Boomers and have no trouble maneuvering through "bank websites".

Down with stereotyping!

diane

linuxchic said...

Out of over 500 followers, maybe a third are in their twenties with the rest over 30. I have had a few teens add me, but I noticed they don't stay with Twitter long. I can't help but wonder if it is because the younger crowd spend more time naturally socializing with their peer group offline and less time building relationships with people online exclusively.

Once people get out in the work force and start working on building their career they have less time to spend trying to find people they have something in common with - and what better way to find like-minded people than online where you can learn their hobbies and interests before making small talk! :)

With Twitter you can get pieces of conversations from people you don't even follow and learn about them. You just can't do that in real life. Imagine sitting in a cafe just to listen for someone else's conversations then jumping in and saying "Wow, you are interesting! Want to hang out?!" Most would run the other way, fast, and I don't blame them. Most of the time that's a little intrusive!

With Twitter and other social networking services we can spend more time making meaningful connections with our peer group on a schedule that is convenient for us with no commute needed. Even better, a lot of my Twitter friendships are flourishing offline too.

Christopher Herot said...

I'm glad you did this poll. There's been a fair amount of speculation about the demographics of Twitter users, but you are the first I've seen use the product itself to answer the question.

As the re-tweets spread further from your immediate network it will be interesting to see if the results change.

Zena said...

Thanks everyone for the comments so far. I'll keep updating the age stat as more roll in.

I appreciate everyone's willingness to jump in on this. As Connie points at this was very impromptu and everyone chipped in and spread the word. This little exercise has open my eyes to the helpful Twitter community we are part of.

MarilĂ­n, thanks for your blog link. It would be interesting to see how the age demo changes among countries.

Linuxchic, you nailed the most important part of this community. Getting a glimpse into the lives of people you would not have come into contact with IRL, reaching out to them, exchanging tweets, and then building a relationship. It's definitely the most powerful part of microblogging for me. Thanks for saying so eloquently.

Wabi Sabi Me said...

I did some research on Twitter last Fall and found demographic info at http://www.quantcast.com/twitter.com/demographics

Right now, Quantcast has no Jan 2008 age info on Twitter users, but these are the numbers from when I retrieved my info in October, 2007:

18-24yrs 19%
25-34yrs 16%
35-44yrs 25%
45-54yrs 25%
55-64yrs 6%
65yrs + 9%

Zena said...

Thanks so much Wabi Sabi Me. I did a little searching online for Twitter age stats but haven't found anything as relevant as your stats. Really appreciate it!

I'll pass your findings on to the consultant team that informed me Twitter was for the young. As @creativesage tweeted me, maybe it's for the young at heart.

And I checked out your site: wabisabime.com - love it! Great concept. And I hadn't heard of odiogo.com, I'm going to have to look them up as well. You have been a wealth of info - thanks!

Cheers,
Z

Amanda Gravel said...

Very interesting! It will be interesting to see as time goes on if the average age rises as current users do or if a younger crowd will come in and skew it down.

Glad to have participated. Great work!

Jennifer said...

Thank you for sharing. I found you via Twitter through @chrisbrogan. What is interesting is that you did not get more responses from all the people who follow @chris, etc. I just assumed that you would but the data you have speaks for itself.

Looking forward to learning more from you and the rest of the gang at Twitter!

Smiles,
TheJennTafur on Twitter..

sb said...

I'm 25 and so is my tweetie gf.

Anonymous said...

I'm 28, and a 43 yr old coworker sent me an invite to join. I never really knew what twitter was, went to the site, read what it's about and thought, "why would I wanna do that?" Myspace and Facebook already have places for status, bulletins, and comments. If you wanna txt me, then txt me direct. Twitter is lame.

Anonymous said...

I'm 28, and a 43 yr old coworker sent me an invite to join. I never really knew what twitter was, went to the site, read what it's about and thought, "why would I wanna do that?" Myspace and Facebook already have places for status, bulletins, and comments. If you wanna txt me, then txt me direct. Twitter is lame.