Are teens ditching Facebook for Twitter?

An Associated Press report implies that teenagers are ditching Facebook for Twitter. A closer look shows that while Twitter is in fact being embraced, it's definitely not replacing Facebook.

Not so long ago, social networking statistics showed teenagers were embracing Facebook, but not Twitter. The argument was that the former was more private than the latter, and teenagers arguably value their privacy more than most. As their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, parents' friends, and anyone in-between began friending them on Facebook, however, more young people have started shifting to Twitter, according to an Associated Press report published on CBS News.

Teenagers like how easy Twitter is to use, like being able to send what they see as the equivalent of a text message to a smaller circle of friends, and they like being able to have multiple accounts on which don't have to use their real names. Throw in being able to follow your favorite celebrities and Twitter is actually quite appealing.

The report quotes findings from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, a nonprofit organization that monitors people's tech-based habits, to prove its point. Specifically, the data shows 8 percent of teenagers used Twitter in late 2009, and the number doubled to 16 percent in July 2011.

That's not the whole story though. In July 2011, Pew also some questions to just teenagers who maintain social media accounts. Taking this slightly smaller number of users, Pew split them into two groups: those who have one social media account, and those who have multiple social media accounts. The numbers there were much more telling: of teenagers who use just one social network, 89 percent are using Facebook. Less than 1 percent are using just Twitter. Of teenagers who have more than one social network, 99 percent are using Facebook, and 29 percent are using Twitter as well.

In other words, some teenagers are indeed starting to use Twitter. They are not, however, abandoning their Facebook accounts. As a result, the article shouldn't be talking about a "migration" from Facebook to Twitter by teenagers, just an adoption of Twitter. This can always change, of course; let's see what teenagers think of the mandatory switch to the Facebook Timeline profile.

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