Miley Cyrus Leaves Twitter, Yet the Internet Limps On

The departure of Miley Cyrus from Twitter has caused seismic waves of socio-technological uproar--or so you'd think by reading elegaic posts from the Washington Post, Yahoo News, Reuters, MSNBC and, perplexingly, NJ.com, all of whom covered the "story." But the real story: nobody cares about Miley Cyrus quitting Twitter, not even people on Twitter.

Miley Cyrus Quits Twitter

A #mileycomeback topic did top Twitter's trends all day Thursday but has since been trounced by, among other things, President Obama's one-word Twitter reaction to the Nobel Peace Prize: #humbled.

Humbled

In fact, if you look more closely at the #mileycomeback trend, you'll see that it's being bolstered by the repeated tweets of one user, someone called ShoomenJr, a shill account whose profile reports no followers and no one followed. (So I misspoke: someone cares. But only this guy.)

ShoomenJr

But isn't this the same Miley that can sell out 12,000 seat concerts in minutes? And doesn't she hold the record for the best-performing concert movie? Yes, the real life Hannah Montana is popular enough to have her own Wal-Mart clothing line, but on Twitter, she's a relative nobody. Why? Because her fans don't use Twitter.

According to The New York Times and comScore, just 11% of Twitter users are between ages 11 and 17. As the Times explains:

In fact, though teenagers fueled the early growth of social networks, today they account for 14 percent of MySpace's users and only 9 percent of Facebook's. As the Web grows up, so do its users, and for many analysts, Twitter's success represents a new model for Internet success. The notion that children are essential to a new technology's success has proved to be largely a myth.

In fact, Twitter's meteoric popularity might be a product of older people just now figuring out that they can talk to anyone and everyone on the Internet. (At least that's the case with one savvy 27-year-old we've profiled before.) Of course, teenagers discovered this years ago, with instant messaging, chat rooms, online gaming, social networks and, for delinquents, Digg, and 4Chan. The Times continues: "[Twitter's] growth has instead come from adults who might not have used other social sites before Twitter, said Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst studying social media."

That raises a question entirely discrete from the Miley Cyrus incident: will the next generation of Web users pick up Twitter? The service has pervaded cable news, new-age marketing, brand "conversations" and a boat-load of other middle-aged pablum, and so we assume it's here to stay. But if Twitter becomes "your parents' social Web," it might well bore Generation Z. Even Twitter's most voluble and famous young users like Frances Cobain, daughter of Kurt and wife Courtney Love, delete their accounts after only a few screeds.

Perhaps it's simply too easy to delete a Twitter account. The startup could take cues from Facebook, whose deletion process is so fraught with survey questions, requirements, and multi-page processes that there is an entire Facebook group dedicated to achieving that nirvana that is account deletion.

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5 Comments

  • John Smith

    P.S. I twittered #mileycomeback about twenty times, and was in contact with others who were doing it too. Twitter claims to be worth a billion dollars. If so, they should pay top celebrities $$$ to twitter, as celebrities drive a lot of traffic to the site.

  • John Smith

    I will miss checking in on Miley everyday, but it's all good. I was also having fun watching her climb the twitter charts. She was the #12 most followed, and climbing, when she quit(over 2,100,000 followers.) My new goal is to take a non-miley fan to her next movie, "The Last Song", in April. How about it guys, free popcorn! Without Miley there, I'm deleting my twitter after I copy some Desktop backrounds from Miley fans. I never needed twitter to keep track of what Miley was up to, just to hear what she's thinking personally.

  • Dan Macsai

    Apparently, John Mayer cares too. Well, that, or he's being awesomely deadpan:

    RT @johncmayer I can't help but find myself asking the question "What would Miley have tweeted about this?"

  • Loraine Antrim

    Who is using Twitter? Most recent study (Sept) by PR 2.0 cited females and in a PEW study in February, the venerable institution cited 31 years as the median age of Twitter users. If it seen as your mom's place to hang out ( or worse yet, corporate America's), younger users will leave in droves, then the media age will probably jump to 65! Loraine Antrim

    --
    Loraine Antrim, Co-founding Partner
    Core Ideas Communication
    "We Create Smartmouths®"