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Twitter on the Rise

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Last week, the Pew Internet & American Life Project Exit Disclaimer released the 2012 version Exit Disclaimer of their annual report on Twitter use.  As soon as I read the news about the report (via Twitter!), I shared it with the rest of the the AIDS.gov team, released an AIDS.gov tweet about it, and decided to write this blog post.

Since AIDS.gov’s first tweet in 2008, Twitter has been an important tool for us, helping us to reach a wide audience and have an instant conversation. And we’re clearly not alone. Last week we hosted a conference call about social media among communities of color. When we asked the panelists what their favorite new media tool was, the majority answered Twitter.

Pew found that more people (who are already online) are using Twitter, and that some are using Twitter more often. Here are some summary points from the report (you can read the full report Exit Disclaimer on the Pew website):

  • 15% of online adults use Twitter, and 8% do so on a typical day (the rise of smartphones might account for some of the uptick in usage because smartphone users are particularly likely to be using Twitter).
  • Twitter use among 18 to 24-year-olds increased dramatically between May 2011 and February 2012, both overall and on a typical day basis.
  • 26% of 18-29 year old internet users are on Twitter.
  • 28% of African American internet users are on Twitter.

 

Twitter Usage Over Time

 

As an example of how powerful a tool Twitter is for AIDS.gov, just last week we tweeted about updated information from the CDC on HIV among gay and bisexual men. We linked to a fact sheet on that page, and the link in that tweet alone received more than 400 clicks. We are fortunate to have Twitter to help us share new information such as this with anyone, anywhere in the world, with one click.

Just as the number of Twitter users has been on the rise since its launch in 2006, Twitter itself continues to develop new features and resources. Last month Twitter debuted a weekly email digest Exit Disclaimer that summarizes tweets and articles shared by Twitter accounts that you follow and are following you. This is another way to receive information most-talked about by the HIV community.

Interested in HIV/AIDS updates, and don’t yet follow AIDS.gov on Twitter? It’s not too late to start Exit Disclaimer. The HHS Center for New Media also has a directory of HHS accounts and more resources on Twitter here.

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