Twitter and Teens

Perhaps some of you will have heard about Matthew Robson's research note on the media habits of teens. Hobson, 15, is an intern at Morgan Stanley's in London.

The Financial Times writes that the note by (a) 'teenage scribbler' caused sensation and the response was enormous. “We’ve had dozens and dozens of fund managers, and several CEOs, e-mailing and calling all day,” said Mr Hill-Wood, executive director of Morgan Stanley’s European media team, estimating that the note had generated five or six times more feedback than the team’s usual reports.

So, in short what did he tell? (You can read the full report here and here).

Teens don't watch TV on a regular basis, they seldom listen to radio and prefer advert-free websites like Last.fm instead. They find advertising "extremely annoying and pointless". They like the cinema, concerts and video games, especially the Wii, the Xbox 360 and the PS3.

They don't read newspapers, and prefer TV or online news summaries. They only read tabloids and freesheets.

Most teenagers are very active in social networking sites such as Facebook because one can interact with friends on a wide scale. They do not use twitter, because of the costs and because nobody views their profiles, they consider it "pointless".

Lots of people are now comforting themselves that Mr Robson's research is not representative. This is correct but no cause for comfort.

I think, Mr Robson's research notes read like a very coherent summary of most of the major studies published in the field of media and teens within the last years. Many of them representative. (Maybe with the exception of twitter, which was not included in most of them).

By the way, I conducted a very small poll among my students a few weeks ago (only 200 people) asking: "Do you know Twitter?" and "Do you use Twitter?"

90 percent hadn't even heard of it. About 8 percent had heard about it, but were not sure what it was. Two percent knew roughly what it was but had never tried it out.

Maybe, Austria is a bit backward here. However, a Nielsen report says that Twitter is most popular among working adults.

And Harvard Business Publishing tells us that among Twitter users, the median number of lifetime tweets per user is one. But there's a small contingent of users who are very active. Specifically, the top 10% of prolific Twitter users accounted for over 90% of tweets.

I'm interested in your opinions and thoughts about microblogging on Twitter.

And: Do you use it?

Feel free to comment!

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