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Archive for September 17th, 2012

Perspective and context can entirely change how people view numbers. Which number seems larger: 16 percent or 30 million? Without perspective and context, it’s hard to say. In this case, they actually are the same number.

A study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 16 percent of adult Internet users use Twitter (that works out to 13 percent of all adults, doing the math from the survey’s sample of all adults). If that strikes you as a small number, then consider 30 million instead. That’s the number you get if you apply that 13 percent to the nation’s adult population. For comparison, daily newspaper circulation in the United States is 44 million. (Readership is higher.)

Why should journalists or newsrooms care about a service that six out of seven adults don’t even use? That’s where perspective and context come in.

The Pew study also found that 20 percent of the adult Internet users use LinkedIn, substantially more than use Twitter. But what the study didn’t show is how much the people use each service. The question asked was:

Please answer these next questions by thinking about all the ways you use the internet with computers, laptops, mobile phones, and other devices. Please tell me if you ever use the internet or an app with any of those devices to use (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) (more…)

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