I’m on Twitter and I write for a newspaper. What’s cooler than that?

by karlhenk

Niles, Ohio — Eight months ago I made two changes.

I joined Twitter and started working at a newspaper.

As someone in Generation Y, one of those seems obviously cooler than the other.

The newspaper, of course. Go ahead, laugh.

But according to Pew Research, about 1 in 4 people under age 30 read a newspaper. It’s a shocking number, to say the least. I’d be hard-pressed to name a handful of Gen Ys who’ve read a newspaper in the past year, and that doesn’t even guarantee they paid for one.

But as pathetic as 25-percent readership is for the fastest-growing generation since the Baby Boomers, newspapers still top Twitter among Gen Ys.

TwitterThat’s right, that Twitter. The same Twitter that media professionals have beaten into the brains of media up-and-comers (or future flameouts) like myself.

“Those in media must use Twitter or accept irrelevancy,” a media “hot shot” once told me.

I guess most people qualify as “irrelevant.”

Only 50 of 370 “friends” on my Michigan-maintained Facebook page use Twitter and close to half only use it regularly.

Fifty of 370? That’s 13 percent.

But hey, that’s just my experience, right?

Nope: Only 13 percent of the entire population uses Twitter. That number grows slightly to 18 percent for people ages 18 to 30.

Twitter recently topped 100 million active users worldwide. For comparison’s sake, Twitter has 87-percent fewer users than Facebook, the No. 1 social media website on the planet.

The numbers are so low that Gen Ys are more likely to use drugs or be obese than use Twitter.

The microblogging site is growing, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s nowhere near as popular as we’re led to believe. Especially considering those who use Twitter — the media, businesses and advertisers — are likely tweeting information among themselves, when odds are they would share that same information without Twitter.

Don’t believe me? As of April, only 10 percent of Twitter accounts followed more than 50 people. The average Facebook user has 130 friends. Simple math, folks. The average Facebook user can reach two-and-a-half times the audience of Twitter.

These stats aren’t going to deter me from tweeting. It’s still a necessary evil in today’s media world (despite what mentor and genius Jack Lessenberry says). Truth be told, tweeting produces a fair amount of pertinent information considering the minimal time investment.

You know what else produces a fair amount of pertinent information for a minimal time investment?

A newspaper.

But that’s not cool either, is it?

Follow Karl Henkel on Twitter, friend him on Facebook.

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