Teens flocking to Twitter for privacy?

By Anne Collier

Now that so many parents are on Facebook, teens are defying predictions and adding Twitter to their social toolboxes, according to an article at MSNBC. The number of teens using Twitter has doubled in the past two years, to 16% of 12-to-17-year-olds last July (the latest data available), the article cites the Pew Internet & American Life Project as finding. “Teens tout the ease of use and the ability to send the equivalent of a text message to a circle of friends, often a smaller one than they have on crowded Facebook accounts. They can have multiple accounts and don’t have to use their real names. They also can follow their favorite celebrities,” MSNBC reports. Self-promotion is not their primary motivation for going on Twitter, the article says (contrary to what I hear a lot of adults say about Twitter use in general (on the contrary, see this about Twitter for growing one’s PLN). But the evidence that teens are taking to Twitter more to get away from parental monitoring elsewhere seems purely anecdotal in this article. It doesn’t come from the Pew research cited or its authors. Pew’s Twitter-use figure is only a little higher for 18-to-29-year-olds, now: 20%. Check out the article for point and counterpoint between two scholars on teen privacy. I’m biased toward the view of Alice Marwick, PhD, at Microsoft Research. [See this for the latest data on teens and texting.]

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