On a recent visit to my parents homes in Wisconsin and, more specifically, a visit with my 17 year old brother (I’m 40), I found him buried in his smartphone. But after a quick glance at his Facebook page, I noticed nothing new. So, curious if he was texting I asked him what he was up to, his answer was simple. “I’m on Twitter all day, only old guys like you use Facebook.” Now, I’ve never thought of myself as particularly old and wasn’t willing to smack my half-brother for calling me old for a couple of reasons. One, he cross-trains and is 6’4″, I’m 5’7″ and a smoker. Now, I know I win that fight but also know his mother (my stepmother) would have thrown me out of the house….and he would have “live tweeted” it.

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Twitter’s popularity among teens

That said, he’s not the only teenager who is using Twitter over Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) according to a new study from the financial firm Piper Jaffray. Twitter has apparently overtaken Facebook as the most popular social network among U.S. teens.

The study found Twitter was preferred by 26 percent of adolescents while Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and its recently acquired unit Instagram were each chosen by 23 percent.

Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are considerably more popular among teens than Tumblr and Google+, each of which can only claim less than 5 percent preference among trend-setting teens.

Twitter and Facebook IPO

This is clearly music to Twitters ears though the chorus and each verse are only allowed 140 characters; especially given its upcoming initial public offering. While the $1 billion that Twitter is seeking through its IPO is considerably less than Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s, Twitter is certainly hoping that its comes off without half the problems that Facebook saw during its offering —an offering that still has pending lawsuits against both Facebook and its underwriters.

“The data point is likely unsurprising as the trend in our survey has been moving toward Twitter over the past couple of years,” said analysts Gene Munster and Douglas Clinton in a note to clients. “Overall, regardless of the trend in teen preference toward other networks, we continue to believe that Facebook has additional avenues for monetization in Instagram and video in the coming months.”

Survey of teens

The survey of some 8,600 teens showed a shift from a survey earlier this year in which Facebook was preferred over Twitter by 33 to 30 percent.

Both researchers also said that its information has the potential to be read incorrectly as Facebook owns Instagram. noting “that a plan to include advertising on the Instagram platform would be “a catalyst” for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), for which Piper Jaffray set a target price of $57 a share.