It stands to reason that those who Tweet would be more engaged in other online social activities. But the latest Survey of the American Consumer published by GfK MRI adds a new dimension to our understanding of what makes a Tweeter tick: they are more likely than non-Twitter users to be active in their offline communities as well as online. Does this mean that Twitter users are all social and political activists at heart? Read on for more from this survey.
Looking at American adult consumers, this survey shows that using Twitter is strongly correlated with several other social activities online. Those who Tweet are 506% more likely than the average U.S. adult to write a blog and 314% more likely to comment on a blog or a forum. They are also 451% more likely to add a video to their own blog or a video sharing website like YouTube.
These are all highly social activities that presume some sort of two-way communication. While some people consider Twitter to be more of a broadcast, rather than two-way, communication tool, it is likely that most Twitter users see it as both: some people broadcast, while others engage with their followers using @ and their username. This social element is likely what drives adult Twitter users to seek out other social activities on the web.
So how can we explain the other side of the survey results? The survey finds that Twitter users score high on all dimensions of public activity. They are 209% more likely to have written something that’s been published than the average American, 142% more likely to participate in political or environmental causes, 141% more likely to be part of a lobbyist group or similar organization, and 103% more likely to have attended a political rally or even in the past twelve months.
Anne Marie Kelly, SVP, Marketing and Strategic Planning at GfK MRI thinks she can explain Twitter users’ active offline lifestyle:
“GfK MRI data clearly indicate that Twitter users are an influential group of people, engaged in a variety of public activities, and willing to share their thoughts through blogging and published works. This group of people is also probably interested in finding the next big trend, as illustrated by their higher-than-average ownership of electronic book readers.”
Now, it’s a question of what came first: Twitter or the engagement? Is there something about Twitter that inspires people to connect with their offline communities and become more politically and socially active? Or are people who use Twitter already predisposed towards community involvement?
The Survey of the American Consumer is a yearly national survey of the media and product consumption habits of the American people. It uses data from approximately 26,000 adults across the U.S. and its random sampling means that it can stand in as a good indicator of the trends of the country as a whole.