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Tweens On Twitter

by Global Lead Analyst at Piksel on Aug 14, 2009

  • 10,407 views

A quick overview of the growing influence of tweens on Twitter, circa mid-August 2009

A quick overview of the growing influence of tweens on Twitter, circa mid-August 2009

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  • Ryan6 Ryan B, Blogger at Cheshire Has Miley shut down her Twitter account now?! I’m sure she has.
    http://www.y-space.info
    4 years ago
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  • AlanWolk Alan Wolk, Global Lead Analyst at Piksel @Carri - I did not mean to suggest that teens/tweens know they are a formidable block-- it's marketers who know that. These kids have been marketed to their entire lives in ways that previous generations weren't and they are very aware of how to avoid messages that appear inauthentic or pandering.

    As for devices, etc. - I'm curious about that as well. Most of them do not seem to be going to the actual Twitter site itself or using any sort of standalone app. They're tweeting via these quiz and poll sites, which are on the web and accessed through the browser. The site then feeds Twitter.

    So it's unclear whether the tweens then go to Twitter to see their tweets or if they just leave well enough alone. The fact that many are only following celebs on there seems to indicate they're using it as a broadcast site to keep up with their 'faves' but that may change. (Particularly if they figure out that on a smart phone, DMs work just like text messages, only they're free!)
    4 years ago
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  • CarriBugbee Carri Bugbee, Social Media Marketing Strategist, Social TV Writer at Big Deal PR, Social Media Monthly Alan, you've got some great data and ideas there. I just wonder if tweens/teens actually 'know' they're a formidable block to be marketed to. I doubt that's on their radar screen.

    Also, I'm really curious about what devices tweens are using to generate Twitter traffic; i.e., what's the percentage of mobile devices vs. computers? Either way, I could see traffic actually climbing during the school year. Every experienced tweeter knows that Twitter is an ideal time-waster and procrastination tool when you have work to do. I think it would be the same for kids with homework to do. :-)

    @CarriBugbee
    Social Profiles: http://bit.ly/CarriB
    4 years ago
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  • RolandoPeralta Rolando Peralta, Chief Director at CommunitiesDNA Brilliant presentation and valuable data! Thanks a lot Alan for sharing your work, and thought with zephoria.
    I'm quite agree that we'll continue witnessing a significant growth in Teenagers using Twitter, and I think it's a natural behavior to think about their Twitter accounts as 'my celebrity channel'.
    Cheers,
    4 years ago
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  • kburbary Ken Burbary, Chief Digital Officer at Campbell Ewald Just finished reading the preso and your insightful discussion here Alan/Zephoria, and more people would be well served to do the same. The misinformation from the mashable piece is easy to digest and spread. Not until diving into the details (like Alan did with this preso and your blog post Zephoria) can you see the real behavior and trends. Despite being a parent of kids who aren't quite teens, I can confirm they fit some of the above mentioned behaviors and patterns. Good stuff you two! 4 years ago
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  • AlanWolk Alan Wolk, Global Lead Analyst at Piksel First off, your “rant” on teens and social media is awesome and does a great job of debunking the Nielsen/Mashable debacle. But since the link you provided seems to be down, I wanted to provide an alternate so readers can find it: http://bit.ly/ZTtXK

    We’re definitely on the same page in regards to how the average age (and likely, the average socially acceptable age) of Miley Cyrus/Jonas Brothers/High School Musical fans is much higher overseas. Particularly with Brazilian teens: according the Alexa, the majority of traffic to the LolQuiz site, the largest of the poll/quiz sites, is from Brazil.

    Good call on the Gossip Girl/Twilight crowds too: those are definitely older girls and two very different crowds. I can definitely see your point about Twitter taking off among teens/tweens, especially as a way to share thoughts around a broader target, be it the Disney Channel games, the premier of this season’s Gossip Girl or, if boys start getting into it, the Super Bowl or even local high school sporting events. Twitter provides a unique forum and real-time broadcast capability that other social networking platforms do not.

    And then there’s the whole “on the internet, no one knows you’re a dog” thing: tweens can participate in a range of conversations without having to broadcast “I’m only 12.”

    Very true too, re: parental permission to use Twitter. Though since it’s free, I can see upper middle class kids jumping on without bothering to ask: these kids generally have their own computers in their own rooms, and coupled with an iPhone app, it makes Twitter an easy thing to hide. And I say that because anecdotally, I’m seeing kids as young as 4th or 5th grade putting up Facebook accounts that their parents may or may not know about.
    4 years ago
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  • zephoria zephoria I wouldn't go so far as to say that those who are into Disney stars are outcasts, although they aren't necessarily the uber cool in the States. But interestingly, those markers don't seem to apply outside of the US which is why you get the crazy onslaught of Jonas Bros fandom in Brazil looking mega different than in the States. Older, more soap style than starlet style.

    It's interesting to see some of the camps that are hitting Twitter from teen culture. Right now, Twilight fans are a camp w/ those into Team Jacob vs. Team Edward being very different than those into the Jonas Bros. Then there's those into Gossip Girl star (which, as a show, is more popular with Sex in the City fans than teens). And of course there's the geeks which will have none of this. Those who are more into indie rock bands or hip hop stars (trends older) are only really starting to get their feet wet.

    You're totally right that the iPhone is playing a big role this summer, but that won't stop when the school year starts. Nor will polls or quizzes. In fact it'll get far more intense when it can be integrated into the 'water cooler' element of seeing each other and discussing what was on Twitter last night. As for teens/tweens being bored over the summer, of course. That's common. But boredom alone isn't the driving factor. So much of what they're doing is fundamentally social that even micro-boredom (of the doing homework kind) will spare plenty of room for 140 characters. Right now, I'm reading 2 hours of teen tweeting a day, sampling in all sorts of different ways to find different types of teens using the site. I'm seeing a huge upswing of Indonesian and Brazilian teens. (They've been historically early adopters of social media... Friendster and Fotolog being core examples.) I'm also seeing Australian teens and teens from different countries in Europe. Best I can work out, it's basically the teens who never got into Facebook.

    If you want a good rant on what I'm seeing: http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2009/08/06/teen... (And btw, I think that there would be a LOT more tweens on Twitter because of the starlets if only their parents would let them.)
    4 years ago
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  • AlanWolk Alan Wolk, Global Lead Analyst at Piksel @Zephoria: I am a huge fan of your work and am flattered that you have commented here. Two thoughts:

    1) The teens who are into Disney stars are to some degree outcasts. They're the same type of teens who were into David Cassidy or New Kids on the Block when we were in high school. The age range for 'tweens' also seems to keep slipping lower and lower: my kindgergarten age daughter and her friends are very into Hannah Montana and iCarly (they may not totally get the shows, but they're aware of them and wear the merchandise) That may be an influence from older siblings, but if kindergartners are into them, then teens who are serious fans of those same acts may seem even more awkward.

    2) I'm of two minds with the upper middle class tweens: on the one hand, the people fueling the quizzes and polls seemed to be coming from a more blue collar demographic: lots of reporting of being 'bored' over the summer without a whole lot to do- as you note. upper middle class tweens tend to be in some sort of structured summer program and not as likely to be using any sort of social media. So the whole poll/quiz thing may just pass them by along with Twitter.

    The outlier is the $99 iPhone, which, along with the iTouch + home WiFi, are giving these upper middle class kids access to Twitter. It won't take long for them to realize that Direct Messaging is cheaper than texting, just as immediate and equally as private. And it may just seem a lot cooler than texting.

    Curious too as to why you think much of the teen/tween Twitter usage will come from outside the US?

    Thanks again for your comments here- can't tell you how many times I've referred to your study on class differences between Facebook and MySpace users- and your insights are always welcome.
    4 years ago
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  • zephoria zephoria Two thoughts:

    1) It's not just the tweens who are into the Disney starlets. The tweens are into the character they represent; the teens want to be the celebs themselves. They follow for different reasons and with different expectations. (And then there's the sexual fantasies w/ same-age celebs... but let's not go there.)

    2) I disagree with your assessment re: the school year. In all youth-oriented social media, summer is a downtime for traffic. Many middle-upper class American youth are in very scheduled, structured activities during the summer. In the school year, after school and activities, they return home for 'homework' where they sit in front of the computer and multitask. I actually think we'll see an increase in teen usage this fall, although I expect the majority of it to come from outside of the States.
    4 years ago
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Tweens On Twitter Tweens On Twitter Presentation Transcript