Average age of those who follow me on twitter…

Hello, yes I do have much better things to do with my time but I just wanted to bang up a quick post, to help Directgov and anyone else who might mistakenly think that twitter is the social medium of choice for ‘the young’.

I did a quick survery – asked a couple of times – how old people were (who were reading my tweets <- following me). I got 120 replies that were in a format that I could use (thanks @grahamashton for this little hack https://gist.github.com/1043057 we have upped the number of calls it can make to try to capture everything, but it obv won’t read the dms – and you will need to install feedparser). I ended up having to work out the average age this way:

Anyhow, ages are still being sent to me as I write, but the average age at 11am today was 40.51.

Interesting things to note, although it is a bit “no shit sherlock”, those who choose to read my tweets will generally be interested in the stuff I am, which is a bit dull: open data, government, geeks, hack days, cooking and moaning – and so the age group is defined more by the subject and person; if I were Justin Bieber doing this my followers may well be younger.

My daughter, her friends and other teens I know are on BBM (the Blackberry messaging service) and Facebook, right now – they are not interested really in twitter, but do sometimes ask me to tweet stuff or find out what someone said.

Twitter is a platform, and from this little survey – most commonly used by grown-ups/the middle aged

Feel free to comment on how to run a proper survey and that this doesn’t really say anything – it was just an interesting thing to do and hopefully helpful somewhere to someone… and it did not cost 10s of thousands to research 😉

Right – to work

6 responses

  1. Methinks I smell the burning of a straw man … but I know you wouldn’t have done this without a good reason, so I imagine there’s some talk being bandied about involving “social media” and “generation Y”. I hope your little intervention encourages people to research this properly (and not just this, either.) Evidence-based policy FTW!

    Also,the fact something is popular among young people does not means it’s of no interest to older people. That’s a basic logical fallacy. Counter-examples include: Glastonbury, Jack Daniels, and the alarming rise in STI’s among old aged pensioners.

  2. 43…and cleverly designed to look like an adult.

    iCarly rocks and I wear spongebob’s square pants.

    “Go David Hasselhoff, swim like the wind”….

    Follow me @eyeskyward

  3. Emma – thanks for your thoughts about this and I agree with your conclusions. I picked up on your question through @brendadada on twitter, retweeted and a few of us had a quick discussion on LinkedIn. I am puzzled that Directgov are making such assumptions, as Gordon says, we need more research to inform an evidence based policy. Let me know if you need any support taking this forward!

  4. Of course, the problem is that I’d guess that any individual’s followers are likely to be skewed more to the decade or so in which their own age sits – unless he or she is in a particular industry or has a certain level of celebrity, renown or notoriety.
    But I’d always thought that what figures that were available said that Twitter was used more by people over 30. About a year ago, when I mentioned Twitter to a young woman of about 21, she immediately said ‘Oh, that’s for old people! Couldn’t be bothered with that.’ I laughed and pointed out some of the people around her who are regular tweeters and at the leading edge of digital innovation, and pointed out it could help her career if she learned how to tweet.
    Facebook used to have a much younger lot of users, but I think that the age range has increased dramatically.

  5. Of course, what is difficult about Twitter is the number of users who are bots.
    The following is interesting because it has stats that indicates the balance between real and bot users:
    Note how small the number of Twitter accounts that tweet are – and although some are genuine (I know at least 3 real people who don’t tweet), some of those are bots. A certain type of bot is usually in ‘her’ early 20s.

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