American Teenagers Not So Enthusiastic About Twitter

by Tanya Thomas on  February 8, 2010 at 9:11 AM Lifestyle News
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 American Teenagers Not So Enthusiastic About Twitter
With only 8pct of American teens taking to regular tweets, a new report has revealed that microblogging has not yet caught the fancy of teens in the West.

According to the report, from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, experts have suggested that the difference is that most teens want to socialize with their friends and peers, not broadcast to the larger world.

"Most teens are not interested in being truly public," the Washington Post quoted Danah Boyd, a researcher with Microsoft Research and a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, as saying.

She says that even though Twitter allows users to limit their circle of friends, it is "fundamentally a public system", and teens "look at this and say, 'Is this the best tool for doing what I want?'"

The report also found that older teens are more likely than younger ones to use Twitter, and that high school girls are the most interested, with 13 percent using Twitter, compared with 7 percent of boys the same age.

Researchers say most Twitter-minded teens follow the tweets of celebrities -- be it Miley Cyrus, Lance Armstrong, Chad Ochocinco, Shaquille O'Neal or Ashton Kutcher.

"I don't know a single person who uses Twitter," Samara Fantie, 17, of Gaithersburg, said, adding that with so many of her friends on Facebook, Twitter seems beside the point.

Fantie listed its drawbacks, saying it appears to be less secure, more public and too condensed.

"Teenagers like to talk, and 140 characters is just not enough," she said.

"Facebook does everything Twitter offers, only it's better. It would be like going backwards," she stated.

The Pew findings are consistent with those of Eszter Hargittai of Northwestern University.

In a study of 1,115 college freshmen, done less than a year ago, she found that 85 percent of those surveyed had never used Twitter, 10 percent used it once and did not go back and 4 percent were using it regularly.

"They're more interested in friends and not keeping in touch with the world more broadly," she said.

Lynn Schofield Clark, a researcher at the University of Denver, says the finding about few teens on Twitter may be surprising to adults who assume that teens are always seeking the spotlight.

But she notes that teens have become more wary of revealing too much, and "Twitter seems to take away the control they want".

"There is a growing awareness of privacy levels," she added.

Source: ANI

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