Twitter use and status updates in general are on the rise among Internet users overall and several specific user groups as compared to 2008 and earlier this year, according to research just released from the Pew Internet Project.

In December 2008 and April 2009, the organization's studies showed that around 11 percent of Internet users were using a microblogging or status updating service. That number has now risen to 19 percent, one out of every five Internet users. The three major growth areas driving this increase are social network users, mobile web users and users younger than 44 years old.

Results were based on a daily tracking survey of Americans' Internet use and data from
telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research International between
August 18 and September 14, 2009, among a sample of 2,253 adults.

Most importantly, each factor was considered independently. In other words, results for any particular group of users are not simply because that group is younger or generally more familiar with technology than other groups.

Thirty-five percent of those who use social networks such as MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn reported that they also use Twitter or a similar service, compared to 6 percent of users whose only social network is Twitter. Overall, around 49 percent of Internet users are also using social network sites.

The study also shows that more than half of all Internet users use a mobile, wireless connection, such as a laptop or cell phone. In December 2008, around 14 percent of these users were using a status updating service or microblog; now, that number has risen to one out of four mobile users. For non-mobile, non-wireless Internet users, 8 percent currently use Twitter, as compared to 6 percent last year. Mobile users also said they used their mobile devices primarily to stay in touch with others and access information online.

Interestingly, gadget geeks represent a large and growing group of Twitter users. Almost 40 percent of Internet users with four or more Internet-connected devices use Twitter. The fewer the gadgets, the less a user is likely to connect via a microblog or status updating service.

The final growth area identified in the Pew study was younger users. Those under the age of 44 reported a rapidly increasing adoption rate, from 19 percent last year to 37 percent last year. Users 45 and older, on the other hand, have been much slower to adopt Twitter or a similar service.

Interested parties can view the full Pew report here.