Research on Teens, Adults and Internet Usage

Social Media and Young Adults (Pew Internet & American Life Project)

Teen textingIf you are looking for good research on trends in consumers’ use of the Internet, one of the first places to look is the Pew Research Center and their Pew Internet & American Life Project.  For nearly 10 years Pew has been producing high quality, insightful reports on a wide range of Internet and technology issues.  Their research methodology typically involves the use of surveys distributed via phone.  But unlike some small-time research companies that produce questionable research where methodology is borderline and their intentions seem mostly promotional, Pew follows solid research methods including obtaining information from large representative samples, thus producing acceptable sampling error.

The report featured here offers a nice example of Pew’s work.  It examines how teens and adults compare on their usage of a number of technologies including general Internet access, blogging, social network communication, cellphone usage and several others.  As mentioned, Pew strives to produce good research, and here their survey methodology is clearly outlined and overall shows very acceptable sampling error rates (generally less than 4%).  The report is fully available including the survey instrument, graphics and all data.

There has been much media attention given to Twitter and other microblogging services over the past year and initially the supposition was that, as with other types of social network services, teenagers would be leading the adoption charge on a social, connective technology.  However, data from September 2009 suggest that teens do not use Twitter in large numbers. While a September 2009 survey of adults suggests that 19% of adult internet users ages 18 and older use Twitter or update their status online, teen data collected at a similar time show that only 8% of online American teens ages 12-17 use Twitter.

According to the report, teens are less inclined to use Twitter compared to adults, what are the main reasons for this?

Image by Zawezome

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