Does Twitter have an engagement problem?
A new study from Pew Research Center finds 49% of US adults on Twitter qualify as “lurkers.”
Pew Research Center defines lurkers as infrequent tweeters who have posted less than five tweets per month since they first opened their account.
Moreover, when lurkers do tweet, they’re more likely to reply to someone else’s tweets rather than post their own.
This data was analyzed as part of a companion study to one published by Pew Research Center in November, which found a vast majority of tweets are published by a minority of highly active users.
In contrast, Twitter’s most infrequent users represent a majority of its US adult user base.
This paints a picture of Twitter being a site full of content published by a small percentage of users, which gets consumed by a large percentage of users who aren’t adding to the conversation.
Let’s dig into the data to learn more about Twitter lurkers. Here are the highlights from the study.
Most Twitter Lurkers Are Ages 30 to 49
Twitter lurkers are primarily older US adults, the study finds.
Among infrequent tweeters, 59% of users are between 30 and 49, an age group consisting of elder Millennials and Gen X.
Gen Z and younger Millennials are more likely to be active on Twitter, as only 14% of users between 18 and 29 are considered lurkers.
In contrast, the 18 to 29 age group comprises a majority of Twitter’s most frequent tweeters.
See the chart below for a comparison of frequent tweeters and infrequent tweeters, broken down by age.
Pew Research Center notes lurkers are not significantly different from more active tweeters when it comes to factors such as gender, party affiliation, educational attainment or race.
Lurkers Visit Twitter Less Frequently
Lurkers visit Twitter less frequently than more active tweeters – 21% say they visit the site every day, compared with 55% of more active tweeters.
Further, 38% of infrequent tweeters say they visit weekly or daily, while 41% say they visit only a few times a month or less.
Twitter Lurkers Are More Receptive To Other Points Of View
Lurkers are more interested in discovering other points of view rather than sharing their own.
The study notes:
“When asked whether they use the site to express their own opinions or to see what others are saying, 76% of lurkers say they use the platform primarily to see what others are saying. Only 6% use the platform primarily to express their own opinions.”
Among infrequent tweeters, 13% say discovering other points of view is their main reason for visiting the site, compared with 5% of more active tweeters.
The primary reasons lurkers use Twitter are entertainment and information.
Lurkers Post More Replies Than Original Tweets
Replies makes up 51% of lurkers’ tweets, compared to 30% of more active tweeters.
Interestingly, retweets from lurkers make up a smaller percentage of posts compared to retweets from more active users.
For more insights on Twitter lurkers, see the full study.
Featured Image: Nikita Burdenkov/Shutterstock