The social messaging service Twitter appears to attract a higher proportion of African-Americans, who make up 24 percent of the 17 million Americans “tweeting”. This number is approximately double the percentage of Blacks in the overall U.S. population according to a report by The Edison Research and Arbitron released April 29.
The study surveyed approximately 1,753 Americans, ages 12 and over, and is a compilation of three years of research on Twitter usage trends. Those trends included a study of popular general topics which appear across a wide range of individual “tweets” and appeared to be drawn heavily from Black culture.
“Indeed many of the ‘trending topics’ on Twitter on a typical day are reflective of African-American culture, themes and topics,” the report states, according to theGrio.com
According to the report, Americans’ general awareness of Twitter has skyrocketed from 5 percent in 2008 to 87 percent in 2010.
The new findings of the Twitter study reinforce findings of the Pew Center’s 2009 study on wireless Internet use. The two surveys both illustrate the importance of mobile Internet use among African-Americans, and the dwindling “digital divide” that once existed between Blacks and Whites.
According to the Pew report, African-Americans are the most active users of the mobile Internet and their segment of Internet users appear to be growing the fastest.
The Pew report found that 48 percent of African Americans have used mobile Internet access for e-mail, instant messaging or information at some point. Additionally, 29 percent of African-Americans rely on their handheld devices alone for Internet access, far ahead of the national average of 19 percent.
Experts said there are several possible reasons behind the heavy African-American usage of Twitter and mobile Internet, but one key factor may be the increasing affordability and availability of Internet-capable mobile devices.