Twitter Name Recognition High, Actual Usage Low

Ryan Whitwam

Facebook is fond of saying that Twitter is " in the rear-view mirror ", and according to some new survey numbers from Edison Research/Arbitron Internet & Multimedia Study, it might be true . The study shows the massive growth in awareness of Twitter over the last few years, but indicates that very few people actually use it.

In 2008, only 5% of Americans had ever heard of Twitter. By 2010, that number was 87%. Facebook's current awareness is at 88%. The stark difference is in usage numbers. A whopping 41% of Americans have a Facebook page, while only 7% use Twitter. By its very nature, Twitter is more of an ordeal to use. You have to interact with people to get any value out of it. With Facebook, many people just set up their page, and play Farmville.

This illustrates Twitter's adoption problem. Many people might hit a profile page on Twitter to see what someone is saying, but they aren't necessarily going to sign up and start tweeting themselves. The authors of the report suggest Twitter may beable to overcome this by reemphasizing SMS status updates. As the mobile app has become the hot way to use twitter, SMS has fallen by the wayside despite being important in Twitter's early days. How do you think Twitter can get past this problem?

Image via Arbitron/Edison

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