Twitter: the Choice for God, Guns and Grandmas

If you thought Twitter was exclusively home to tech-savvy college kids, think again. Reports show the micro-blogging service has some unusual uses among churchgoers and the military, while the site’s growth may in fact be driven by older users.

MSNBC reports on a church in San Antonio where the congregation are not only encouraged to use Twitter on smartphones during the Sunday sermon, but the resulting messages are displayed on a large screen. A survey, albeit of just 145 churches, found 10 per cent already had a presence on Twitter. And one church even had members play biblical roles and post updates to perform the Passion play on Twitter over Easter.

Meanwhile the United States force in Afghanistan has launched a Twitter account which includes updates of both US force deaths and killings and captures of enemy combatants. The force has designated three staff members to update the account, along with Facebook and YouTube pages. The latter is somewhat ironic given that the US Army has previously blocked soldiers from accessing YouTube for fears that it will clog up the military network, a major issue given the remote locations of some troops.

And a study by Pace University finds that while 99% of people aged 18 to 24 use some form of social networking site, just 22% use Twitter. Of course, it’s difficult to draw many conclusions without similar studies of users of other ages. But it does give some weight to the theory that Twitter’s success is not down to the most obvious demographic, but rather older users.

Davey Winder of DaniWeb has an interesting take: with the recent rise of mainstream reports about celebrity Twitter users, he suspects those aged 18-24 may have the least reverence for public figures and see their posts as a novelty rather than a reason to use the site.