First of all, we can all agree that Twitter is one of the biggest social media companies in the world, though it wouldn’t seem so based on its user count. Here’s an overall estimation of user numbers across social media:
- Twitter – 436 million monthly active users
- Snapchat – 750 million monthly active users
- TikTok – 1 billion monthly active users
- Instagram – 1.318 billion monthly active users
- WhatsApp – 2.24 billion monthly active users
- Facebook – 2.963 billion monthly active users
Every social media platform out there, even one that’s mostly a messaging service (WhatsApp), has more monthly active users than Snapchat.
But if its user count isn’t what makes Twitter popular, then what is? Well, the world’s politics, that’s what. The Blue Bird is the place where the “big discussions” take place, from World War 3 to North Korea’s nuclear armament, the newest streak of activism in America, abortion rights, so on and so forth.
It’s all happening there, day in and day out…
In today’s article, we’ll attempt to define Twitter through its userbase by analyzing some of the next points:
- Gender disparity of users
- Political allegiance of users
- User age demographics
- Users interest
- Time spent on Twitter
- And more…
Hopefully, at the end of this guide, you’ll have a better idea of what Twitter is about, whether it’s for you or not, and what type of social media platform it is. Onward we go!
User Distribution by Gender
Below, you’ll find a chart with the user distribution by gender across several social media platforms, for the sake of comparison:
As of 2023, 63% of all users on Twitter are male, with 37% being female. This is the largest gender disparity across social media, which begs the question – why?
My (non-expert) opinion is that this gender gap is simply a by-product of Twitter’s focus on topics that women may not be as interested in.
I’m talking about in-depth political debates that often devolve into thuggish blame-assignment, toxic bipartisanism, and aggressive behaviors. Sure, that’s not all of Twitter but it’s a large part of it.
There’s really no other explanation I see for the gender gap other than women simply being less interested in these topics or what they lead to.
It also doesn’t seem like Twitter is actively bringing in male users or banning females in a disproportional manner, so it’s not a controlled phenomenon.
Another explanation, though it’s a direct follow-up of my previous point, is that Twitter may be toxic toward female users. Not the company, of course. Rather, the overall atmosphere and other users.
I’d say that, due to Twitter’s audience being mostly focused on certain topics, toxicity is almost always going to appear no matter what.
There’s the trolling, the biased viewpoints, the moronic misogynism (when it’s actually there), pointless aggressiveness, and so on. Twitter seems to be a spawning pool for this type of behavior in part due to the nature of the topics discussed, as well as the attitudes of those involved in the discussions.
Political Affiliation of Twitter Users
It’s very interesting that, when I researched this topic, I found almost no information about the political inclination of Facebook or Instagram users.
On the other hand, there are multiple publications talking about the political inclination of Twitter users, with some of them going into detailed analyses. This makes it painfully clear that Twitter, compared to its competitors, is heavily focused on politics, and everyone acknowledges that.
Here are a few stats about that from the Pew Research Center:
- About 33% of tweets from US adult Americans are political in nature (source)
- Many US adult Twitter users are more likely to be Democrats compared to the general population (source)
- 10% of US Twitter users, most of which are women, are responsible for 80% of all US tweets (source)
- The 10% most active Democrats on Twitter will produce about twice as many tweets in a month as the 10% most active Republications (source)
- About 69% of the highest-active US Twitter users are Democrats while 26% are Republican
- Among the most followed accounts on Twitter are political figures like late-night host Jimmy Fallon, Former President Barrack Obama, President Trump, Tucker Carlson, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, etc. (source)
- 24% of Democrats on Twitter describe themselves are very liberal compared 12% of non-Twitter Democrats, while 60% of Republicans on Twitter describe themselves as very/somewhat conservative compared to 62% of non-Twitter Republications (source)
The data also says that Twitter users are more likely to be Democrats than Republications, but the stats aren’t that disproportional either. Liberals tend to have a bit of an advantage over Republications, as it appears.
Based on the points I made above, you’re more likely to find liberal content on Twitter, though not by a large margin. And, of course, with every bit of politicized content, there’s going to be conflict no matter what. This is the one thing that will most likely never change on the platform.
Age Demographics of Twitter Users
Twitter is a platform that best caters to young adults aged 25-34, as you’ll see in the handy chart I prepared below (thanks to The Social Shepperd). Have a look:
|13-17 Year-Olds||18-24 Year-Olds||25-34 Year-Olds||35-49 Year-Olds||50+ Year-Olds|
If I were to guess why Twitter is a good fit for young adults aged 24-34, I’d say that it’s still the political climate.
Around the age of 24, people tend to become more interested in the world’s affairs and social issues, and this concerns political debate for the most part. You name it – climate change, abortion rights, healthcare, racism, and so on.
Considering that Twitter seems to be the go-to news source for 57% of Americans, it’s only logical that you’d see so many young adults on Twitter. They’re among the ones who are most interested in the news, followed by the 35-49 year-olds, apparently.
Whether it’s to get a better understanding of current events, confirm their biases, engage in political debate or get the latest update on the lives of celebrities, Twitter is at the forefront of all that. And 25-34 year-olds seem to love it.
But then again, let’s not forget that those same users could also be using Facebook or Instagram, so they’re not solely interested in politics. In fact, data shows that Facebook’s largest audience is comprised of users aged 25-34 (17.6% being male and 12.3% being female).
Most Common Reasons for Using Twitter
A 2021 study conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that most Twitter users are there for entertainment purposes. 74% of all users choose “Entertainment” as the reason they’re using the platform, while 42% claim that it’s also the most important reason.
This is followed by:
- A way to get information – 64% cite this as a reason while 20% say that it’s the most important one
- A way to keep them connected to other people – 50% cite this as a reason while 10% say that it’s the most important one
- A way to see different perspectives on topics – 53% cite this as a reason while 9% say it’s the most important one
- A way to express their opinions – 39% cite this as a reason while 8% say it’s the most important one
- A way to perform their jobs or school activities better – 21% cite this as a reason while 6% say it’s the most important one
It’s clear that most Twitter users seek enjoyment, entertainment, and a way to have fun on Twitter. Sadly, this usually translates to getting conflicted over political debates, being toxic, and causing mayhem.
Time Spent on Twitter
Twitter is among the most used social media platforms in the world but exactly how much time do people spend on it?
Well, a 2022 study by Statista shows that US adults spend:
- 45.8 minutes per day on TikTok
- 45.6 minutes per day on YouTube
- 34.8 minutes per day on Twitter
- 30.4 minutes per day on Snapchat
- 30.1 minutes per day on Facebook
- 30.1 minutes per day on Instagram
- 23.8 minutes per day on Reddit
So, Twitter is the third most-used social media platform in the US, with 34.8 minutes spent on it daily, which is not surprising considering that it’s the number one news outlet for many of them.
But the fact that people spend more time on Twitter than they do on Facebook or Instagram is a bit surprising if you think about it. Clearly, Twitter provides something that people are more interested in.
It might seem that inspirational quotes and pictures of their friend’s vacation are less interesting to people than political debate and conflicting viewpoints. There’s a good thing in the fact that people spend more time on real-world issues than on superficial things, I believe.
What’s the Conclusion?
Based on everything we’ve discussed above, we should be able to draw a couple of conclusions about Twitter:
- It’s mostly a male-dominated platform even though mostly females make up the 10% most active US users
- It has more Democrat users than Republican ones, with Democrats being more likely to self-identify as “very” liberal compared to non-Twitter users. This may point to one of two things: either Twitter caters more to “extremist” Democrats or it acts as a catalyst for the “extremization” of Democrats
- It best caters to people aged 25-34, likely due to this category’s growing interest in real-world issues and debating
- Most US Twitter users come for the entertainment, in whatever form it may come in
- Twitter is the third most-used social platform in the US on a daily basis, averaging 34.8 minutes spent per day
These are all interesting findings, and I hope I’ve been able to shed some light on Twitter’s identity as it’s revealed by its userbase. See you on the next one!
- Pew Research Center – Politics on Twitter: One-Third of Tweets from U.S. Adults Are Political
- Pew Research Center – Sizing Up Twitter Users
- Pew Research Center – Differences in How Democrats and Republicans Behave on Twitter
- The Social Shepperd – 22 Essential Twitter Statistics You Need to Know in 2023
- Pew Research Center – 10 Facts About Americans and Twitter
- Statista – Distribution of Facebook Users Worldwide as of January 2023, by Age and Gender
- Pew Research Center – The Views and Experiences of U.S. Adult Twitter Users
- Statista – Average Time Spent Per Day on Select Social Media Platforms in the United States as of April 2022