New research released today by Edison Research and Arbitron tracking three years of data and surveys related to Twitter use further solidifies the notion that the social media world is far different from reality. “Twitter Usage In America: 2010” shows that while 87 percent of Americans are aware of the microblogging site, only seven percent actually use it. For comparison’s sake, Facebook’s awareness rate is at 88 percent. Usage? 41 percent.
The research, far more reliable than most API scrapes you’ve read about recently, echoes Citibank’s report last week that asserts the vast majority of small business owners don’t even use social media. The simple fact of the matter is social media evangelists, enthusiasts and addicts make up a small portion of the population and, though trendy and early-adopter-ish, have a long way to go before their advice holds water with the real world.
That’s not to say that social media isn’t important or a trend worth incorporating into marketing. Just that we should balance our enthusiasm for the new and cool with a dose of reality. Most people don’t get this world and need more education than marketing advice.
The Edison/Arbitron report, unveiled in a webinar today by author Tom Webster, Vice-President for Strategy and Marketing for Edison, pulls data from a nationally representative survey of almost 2,000 Americans age 12 and over that was conducted via telephone interviews in February of this year. The data was laid over similar studies from 2008 and 2009, giving us probably the most comprehensive and statistically accurate representation of Twitter-related use statistics to date.
The report contains a bevy of updated stats and new insights into both Twitter and general social media usage. I’ve downloaded it for use in talking to clients and conference audiences moving forward. You should, too.
The report can be found on the Edison Research website.