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A fifth of Americans use Twitter, or something

Do offenders' ankle tags count as status updates?

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The Pew Internet and American Life Project handed Twitter either a massive PR coup or a trademark problem yesterday, by declaring 20 per cent of Americans were using the service - or something similar.

In a chart headed "Who Tweets", the researchers said that 19 per cent of US adults were Twittering - or using a similar status update service.

The number of women using Twitter or similar outnumbered men, at 21 per cent and 17 per cent respectively, while 26 per cent of African Americans, 19 per cent of non-Hispanic whites and 18 per cent of Hispanics were letting everyone know where they're at.

Intriguingly, 33 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds were tweeting or similar, with 22 per cent of 30 to 49 years, and 18 per cent. 18 per cent of people without a high school education were doing it, 17 per cent of high school graduates, and 21 per cent of people with a college education or above.

Unsurprisingly, people with wireless access to the internet were more likely to tweet, at 25 per cent, while 39 per cent of people with four or more net devices use Twitter (or similar).

The frustrating thing is, the survey doesn't detail what other status updating services it is referring to. It could be lumping in Facebook as well, and possibly MySpace and LinkedIn.

Or perhaps they've stretched the definition of status updates to include those funky anklets some of the more edgy members of society are required to use to update the authorities on their status.

Depending which way you look at it, Twitter will be ecstatic about the implied dominance of its service - or worried that its moniker is about to become a generic word rather than a trademark (in which case, pass the kleenex). ®

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