See below for Feb 2012 updated data!
On March 21, 2011 Twitter celebrated it's 5th birthday: "200 million users and 1 billion tweets per week". But has it hit the mainstream audience and what is the adoption rate in the manufacturing sector? In November 2010 Pew Internet & American Life Project surveyed more than 2,200 US adult web users and asked, “Do you use Twitter?” Their findings: 8% of all respondents said yes.
This is important within the context of two other pieces of statistical information.
What's an Early Adopter?
An "early adopter" is an early consumer of a technology; in politics, fashion, art, and other fields, this person would be referred to as a trendsetter. The concept was outlined in Everett M. Rogers' 1962 study "Diffusion of Innovations" Although the segmentation of what defines an early adopter has been modified over time, Rogers felt that the crux point between "early adopter" and the next phase, "early majority", was around 15%.
By Roger's standards Twitter is in the early adopter area within US population. As computers, the internet and electronic technology began to take hold in the 80's & 90's Geoffrey A. Moore defined "The Chasm" in early adoption. According to Moore, in his 1999 book, "Crossing the Chasm" "The most difficult step is making the transition between visionaries (early adopters) and pragmatists (early majority)". This is the chasm that is depicted in the graph above. Moore went on to say "If a successful firm can create a bandwagon effect in which enough momentum builds, then the product becomes a de facto standard"
Manufacturing Sector Twitter adoption
In early 2010, GlobalSpec released "Social Media Trends in the Industrial Sector." The 2010 study found that "At this point, only 9% are using Twitter." On Feb 22, 2011, GlobalSpec released "Update: Social Media Trends in the Industrial Sector" as a follow-up to their 2010 study. The 2011 study was quite revealing. It indicated "Currently, only 15 percent have a Twitter account" GlobalSpec's recommendations for using Twitter where, to say the least, in the "not recommended" category.
Comparing the Statistics
Let's just summarize for a moment what the data tells us:
Since I spend most of my time in the industrial marketplace in North America, much of the anecdotal indications in late 2010 where that Social Media efforts where tabled until Q1 of 2011. That is when the budgets would be put in place for new marketing programs like Twitter. There was a recognition that Social Media marketing had to be addressed... but there had to be a budget in place first.
Again, anecdotally, I'm seeing rampant growth of adoption RIGHT NOW.
What are you seeing?
It was interesting to note that I have both the 2010 GlobalSpec study and, now, the 2011 study. According to the 2011 report "Currently, only 15 percent have a Twitter account, up from 12 percent in 2009." I do not have the 2009 study to verify this... which leaves me with only questions.
UPDATE: Feb 2, 2012
The new "Social Media Usage in the Industrial Sector" report from GlobalSpec was just released. According to the report, Twitter usage has now increased to 22% amongst respondents to the survey. According to GlobalSpec
"The percentage of industrial professionals with a Twitter account has grown from 15 percent in 2010 to 22 percent in 2011, yet the overall adoption of this social media platform in the industrial sector remains low. Growth in this outlet likely will be slow among industrial professionals, as 61 percent indicated that they are “not at all likely” to sign up for Twitter."
According the June 2011 "Pew Internet & American Life Project" 13% of online adults use Twitter. According to a recently released study by Semiocast there are 107.7M twitter accounts in the US out of a total US population of 307M. Granted that some people, like myself, have more than one twitter account (personal account and brand account) but it still appears that the industrial sector adoption rate remains pretty high so I'm not quite sure why GlobalSpec continues to downplay this platform.