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Language use in tweets stops giving away person's age once past 30

April 11, 2013 at 2:36 PM   |   Comments

TWENTE, Netherlands, April 11 (UPI) -- Language used in tweets can yield clues to the age of senders, but only if they're about 30 or younger, researchers in the Netherlands say.

Researchers at the University of Twente used computers to analyze 3,000 Dutch Twitter accounts to try to discover the age of users and discovered that while their software could reliably guess a tweeter's age if the sender was between 17 and 30 years old, it was much harder to estimate the age of older users.

The researchers said language use in Twitter's 140-character missives barely changes with advancing years, rendering age guesses over 30 unreliable, NewScientist.com reported.

"We find strong changes in the younger ages, however after an age of about 30 most variables show little change," the researchers said in their published study.

The language use at around age 30 seems related to a change in moving from youthful exuberance -- using many capitalized words and acronyms -- to more complex language the researchers have dubbed "impression management," more important to the thirtysomething professional.

That includes writing longer tweets, with longer words, links and hashtags, the researchers said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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