As Twitter Grows, its Users Grow Older

Young people are shifting away from Twitter, but older folks appear to be embracing it in droves. In the past year, Twitter saw its youngest demographic shrink, but its older demographics grow significantly, indicating that Twitter may be growing into a more sophisticated network.

comScore released its year in review whitepaper this month, highlighting some of the changes in the social networking space from December 2009 to December 2010.

Twitter has seen significant growth in its 18-34 year old demographics over the past year, up 9.4% year-over-year. This demographic now makes up nearly half of all Twitter users.

However, this demographics growth came at a loss of the youngest generation, 2-17 year olds, which dropped 8% over the past year.

It’s interesting to compare the demographic shifts happening on Twitter with those on Facebook: Facebook is attracting more users in both the youngest demographic (up 1.2%) and the oldest (up 1.9%). So while Twitter users become “middle-aged”, Facebook is seeing its biggest gains in its youngest and oldest users.

Twitter’s overall visitor count according to comScore was 26.6 million in December 2010. This was an increase of 18% over December 2009. And, while Twitter is currently the fourth most-popular social networking site behind Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn, the 26.6 million figure doesn’t include third-party apps or mobile use – which likely accounts for more than half of Twitter access.