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Social networking reached 72% of US adult web users in May 2013, according to data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. That’s up from 67% in December 2012, and an indication that social use is still growing, rather than beginning to plateau.
Twitter has driven some of this growth, with the number of Twitter users rising to 18% in May, up from 8% in November 2010, Pew found. While social use is most prominent among younger adult internet users—and this holds true for Twitter as well—the microblog’s audience has grown across all age groups.
Between November 2010 and May 2013, the percentage of internet users on Twitter more than doubled for every adult age group except those ages 65 and older. The increase was most pronounced among those between 30 and 49 years old, who saw penetration rise 142.9%, to reach 17%. And three out of 10 millennials used Twitter in May, compared with 14% in late 2010.
There are some notable differences in the demographic breakdown on Twitter vs. social networking overall. General social use skewed female, Pew found, at 74% of women vs. 70% of men. On Twitter, the breakdown was more gender neutral, with men holding a very slight advantage, at 18% penetration, vs. 17% of women.
On social networks in general, whites underindexed slightly, with penetration 2 percentage points lower than for US web users overall. But on Twitter, this was even more pronounced, with 14% of white web users on Twitter vs. 18% of the total web population. Hispanics were twice as likely as whites to participate on Twitter; black web users were just slightly behind.
eMarketer’s estimates for social network and Twitter users are somewhat lower than Pew’s because eMarketer only counts those users of all ages who log on to the site at least once per month. This year, eMarketer expects 67.2% of US web users to visit a social network monthly, and 15.1% of web users to access Twitter as frequently.
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