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Could the Dangers of Texting While Driving Make Twitter the Most Dangerous Network?

Crowd Science Survey Digs Deep Into Mobile Twitter Habits

Crowd Science revealed some interesting findings from a survey on Twitter use today. It would appear that Twitter is the most used social network by drivers. I'm not sure if that's the kind of endorsement Twitter wants (the most dangerous network), but its short-form texting-like format caters to the mobile user.

"Twitter is more of a mobile media phenomenon than other social networks, so these results, while a little disturbing, are perhaps not so surprising," noted John Martin, CEO of Crowd Science. "And even though checking updates outpaces tweeting by almost two to one, the bottom line is that either type of activity takes a driver's attention away from the road."

Crowd Science Data on Twitter Use
According to Crowd Science, about 11% of Twitter users admitted to accessing social media while driving in the preceding 30 days, compared to only 5% of other social media users. 29% of Twitter users said they had accessed social media from cars at some point in the past, compared with 13% of non-users.


Additional Findings from the survey:

- twice as many Twitter users as non-Twitter social media users (8% to 4%) had accessed any social media from a theater during a movie or live performance (during the preceding 30 days).

- During the same period, 17% of Twitter users vs. 12% of non-Twitter social media users had accessed social media from a washroom or toilet.

- nearly three times as many Twitter users as other social media users have accessed social media from restaurants (31% vs. 12%).

- 40% of Twitter users access the service via mobile at least sometimes (compared with 32% for Facebook users, for example), and 8% use mobile all the time (vs. 3% for Facebook).

- 41% of Twitter users prefer to contact friends via social media rather than telephone, compared with 25% of non-Twitter social media users, and 11% (vs. only 6% of those not using Twitter) actually prefer social media over face-to-face contacts.

- 14% of Twitter users said they have revealed things about themselves in social media that they wouldn't under any other circumstances. Then again, 8% admitted to "frequently stretching" the truth about themselves online.

- More than twice as many males than females (32% to 15%) access Twitter primarily through a third-party application.

- 43% of Twitter users employ a third-party application at least some of the time, and 26% as their main mode of access.

- Twitter users tend to be older than non-Twitter social media users (54% over 30 years old, vs. 42%), twice as likely to be self-employed or entrepreneurs (18% vs. 9%) and to be planning to start a business during the next six months, and more tech-savvy (24% vs. 15% "buy gadgets/devices when they first come out," 48% vs.

- 30% have created a website, and nearly four of ten (37%) currently maintain a blog, twice as many as non-Twitter social media users).

The study was conducted among over 600,000 visitors to multiple websites within Crowd Science's open research network. The survey targeted social media users age 12 and up, and was conducted August 5-13, 2009. They have another study on MySpace on the way.

Social Media Study: Twitter While Driving

Greater Access via Mobile Devices by Twitter Users May Explain More Use of Social Media in Movie Theaters, Restaurants and Restrooms



September 22, 2009 - Silicon Valley, California – With Twitter being accessed from mobile devices to a greater extent than other social media, Twitter users also use social media more in such locations as cars, restaurants and restrooms, according to a survey conducted by Crowd Science (www.crowdscience.com) with its advanced research platform for online audience measurement.


One-in-ten Twitter users (11%) admitted to accessing social media while driving during the preceding 30 days, compared with just 5% of other social media users. And 29% of Twitter users said they had accessed social media from cars at some point in the past, compared with 13% of non-users. 



"Twitter is more of a mobile media phenomenon than other social networks, so these results, while a little disturbing, are perhaps not so surprising," noted John Martin, CEO of Crowd Science. "And even though checking updates outpaces tweeting by almost two to one, the bottom line is that either type of activity takes a driver's attention away from the road." 
Indeed, Crowd Science found that only a quarter (27%) of Twitter users tweet daily, while nearly half (46%) check updates daily. In addition, 24% of Twitters users have never tweeted, or have ceased doing so. 



According to the survey, some 40% of Twitter users access the service via mobile at least sometimes (compared with 32% for Facebook users, for example), and 8% use mobile all the time (vs. 3% for Facebook). 



In addition to the greater usage while driving, the survey also found that over the past 30 days, twice as many Twitter users as non-Twitter social media users (8% to 4%) had accessed any social media from a theater during a movie or live performance. During the same period, 17% of Twitter users vs. 12% of non-Twitter social media users had accessed social media from a washroom or toilet. And nearly three times as many Twitter users as other social media users have accessed social media from restaurants (31% vs. 12%). 


Summary Graphics in PDF format available for Download:
http://pub.crowdscience.com/Twitter-Summary.pdf


Reluctant Users

Crowd Science also surveyed the attitudes of Twitter users, finding a significant number to be reluctant social media users, who use the applications because friends and contacts do (17%) or because stopping or reducing its use would be damaging to their social status (15%.). 
Almost one-third (32%) of Twitter users feel they spend too much time using social media, nearly a quarter (22%) say they've written things on social media that they've later regretted, and 16% report that they often neglect important activities to spend time on social media. 



Yet exactly a quarter of Twitter users say social media is their favorite leisure activity (compared with 14% of non-Twitter social media users). 


Other survey results include:

- 41% of Twitter users prefer to contact friends via social media rather than telephone, compared with 25% of non-Twitter social media users, and 11% (vs. only 6% of those not using Twitter) actually prefer social media over face-to-face contacts. Indeed, 14% of Twitter users said they have revealed things about themselves in social media that they wouldn't under any other circumstances. Then again, 8% admitted to "frequently stretching" the truth about themselves online.

- More than twice as many males than females (32% to 15%) access Twitter primarily through a third-party application. Overall, 43% of Twitter users employ a third-party application at least some of the time, and 26% as their main mode of access.

- Twitter users tend to be older than non-Twitter social media users (54% over 30 years old, vs. 42%), twice as likely to be self-employed or entrepreneurs (18% vs. 9%) and to be planning to start a business during the next six months, and more tech-savvy (24% vs. 15% "buy gadgets/devices when they first come out," 48% vs. 30% have created a website, and nearly four of ten (37%) currently maintain a blog, twice as many as non-Twitter social media users). 



"By applying scientific sampling techniques to Crowd Science's unique open research network, we're able to undertake these kinds of real-time qualitative surveys that provide real value to publishers, advertisers and other industry observers," said Martin. "In the days ahead, we'll also be releasing a comparative analysis of Facebook users vs. MySpace users." 
The Crowd Science study on Twitter and other social media users was conducted across more than 600,000 visitors to multiple websites within the Crowd Science open research network. The survey, targeting social media users age 12 and up, was conducted August 5-13, 2009. 


By Chris Crum


About Crowd Science:
Crowd Science was formed by experts in online market research and audience measurement with a mission to "raise the bar" in the measurement of online populations. Their goal is to help web properties understand all facets of their audience, including the impact of marketing and outreach efforts on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, through rigorous, verifiable interactive research. The company has developed an advanced platform for audience measurement and real-time survey research.

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