Surprised at what you see? Probably Shouldn't be.

Surprising what you can find on Twitter...

This post has been rolling around in my brain for awhile now.  What I saw today was the tipping point.  Today while cruising some new peeps to follow on one of my other (non-personal) accounts I came across a few users that were, uhm…let’s just say, X-rated.  Their profile pictures were displaying ‘junk’ of all different varieties, and some even showed men and women being *ahem* intimate with one another.  Now, I’m an adult.  I’ve seen this all before. (Sorry mom…it’s true.) But it got me thinking about the type of content that is being distributed on Twitter.

MySpace, back in the day, got a lot of grief from the mainstream media for issues involving minors and sexual predators.  On MySpace there were/are barriers in place to help deter this such as a verification of age etc.  We all know that any one can fake their age.  Most of us probably have in the past, and a lot probably still do.  *I swear I’m still 27*  Facebook hasn’t seemed to have faced this same kind of turmoil. Yet.  This could be due to the average age of FB user.  An analysis by iStrategy Labs shows that 86.4% of FB users are over 18.  The 35+ demo has seen a 276.4% increase between the months of 06/08 and 01/09 alone.  This doesn’t necessarily create a hotbed of candidates for child predators.

There are new celebrities joining Twitter daily.  They draw a very extensive following as we all know.  I refused to bring up the most recent race as I’m sick of hearing about it.  Media outlets and celebrities are announcing their activity on Twitter, even publicizing it in the mainstream media.  This increased publicity will undoubtedly bring an influx of users.  This new user base will be coming from channels that are new to the Twittersphere.  The demographics of Twitter’s user will be changing.

The users on Twitter that are over the age of 18 make up 99% of it’s entire population.  Currently.  I can only imagine that this will not remain true forever.  I’ve already seen instances of Twitter being used by a grade school teacher where she had all of her students sign up for accounts and follow each other.  So, at this point I am sure you can see where I am headed.  There is not currently anything in place that acts as an age identifier upon sign up.  There are no restrictions to users under any ceratain age.  This fact combined with the increasing amount of adult content that has been popping up will undoubtedly create an issue at some point.

I’m not suggesting Twitter limits its users to those who are over 18.  I’m not suggesting they forbid adult content.  I’m definitely not suggesting that the presence of adult content means that there will necessarily be sexual predators present. I’m not suggesting anything else here other than we need to start thinking about this again.  I’d like to think that if we/them/us are proactive about these types of issues they can be dealt with before anyone gets hurt.