Well this is interesting: A new poll by the Pew Research Center found that Twitter’s popularity is growing, especially among young people, and use of the service by blacks and Hispanics more than doubles that of whites.
13% of online adults use the status update service Twitter, which represents a significant increase from the 8% of online adults who identified themselves as Twitter users in November 2010. 95% of Twitter users own a mobile phone, and half of these users access the service on their handheld device.
As in our previous research on Twitter use, African Americans and Latinos continue to have high rates of adoption of the service. Fully 25% of online African Americans use Twitter at least occasionally, with 11% doing so on a typical day.
Additionally, Twitter use by internet users ages 25-34 has doubled since late 2010 (from 9% to 19%) and usage by those ages 35-44 has also grown significantly (from 8% to 14%).
This study reminded me of that hilarious Slate article from last year that analyzed how black people use Twitter — specifically how black people on Twitter often engage in online hashtag parties late at night. Remember that one?
On Twitter, people append hashtags to categorize their messages—the tags make it easier to search for posts on a certain topic, and they can sometimes lead to worldwide call-and-response conversations in which people compete to outdo one another with ever more hilarious, bizarre, or profane posts. A woman in South Africa named Tigress_Lee moved the chatter in that direction: “#wordsthatleadtotrouble ‘the condom broke’!” she wrote. From there, the meme took off. “We need to talk #wordsthatleadtotrouble,” declared BigJamaal (11,920 followers), and then he proceeded to post a blizzard of suggestions, including “#wordsthatleadtotrouble I dont know why you got that Magnum in your wallet you clearly live a Durex lifestyle.”
Over the next few hours, thousands of people added to the meme. According to Trendtistic, a site that monitors and archives hot Twitter topics, #wordsthatleadtotrouble was one of Twitter’s top 20 hashtags on Sunday, and it was the top tag that was not based on some real-life event (like the Teen Choice Awards or football). By Monday morning, Twitter was displaying #wordsthatleadtotrouble on its list of “trending topics.” If you’d clicked on the tag, you would have noticed that contributions to the meme ranged from the completely banal (“#wordsthatleadtotrouble we just going out with friends!”) to the slightly less so (“#wordsthatleadtotrouble I didn’t know she was your sister”). If you clicked when the meme was at its peak—that is, before it spread widely beyond the cluster of people who started it—you would have also noticed something else: To judge from their Twitter avatars, nearly everyone participating in #wordsthatleadtotrouble was black.
Additionally, The Awl’s Choire Sicha has expressed fascination with the chatter among black folks on Twitter late at night, writing, “At the risk of getting randomly harshed on by the Internet, I cannot keep quiet about my obsession with Late Night Black People Twitter, an obsession I know some of you other white people share, because it is awesome.”
Meanwhile, white people are doing this on the web late at night when our porn downloads aren’t going fast enough…
Here’s Pew’s complete demographic chart from the data culled from the poll in the event you’re interested in that sort of thing.
(Illustration via Slate)