A recent study says Twitter is more popular for African American college students than whites due to the former's interest in celebrity and entertainment news.

The study, from Northwestern University, focused on first-year college students attending the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). It found those who used Twitter were more likely to be interested in celebrity and entertainment news than not. It also said a higher percentage of black students were using Twitter in 2010 compared to white students, 37 percent to 21 percent.

The study was published online by New Media And Society in May 2011. Respondents were asked about their awareness and use of Twitter as well as their gender, race, Internet skill level, interest in topics such as international news, politics, entertainment and celebrity news.

Students with higher Internet skills were more likely to start using Twitter and so were African Americans, who we found report more interest in celebrity and entertainment news than their peers of other races, Eszter Hargittai, associate professor of communication studies at Northwestern and lead author of the study, said in a statement.

Students of all races with an interest in celebrity and entertainment news were more likely to become Twitter users whereas someone with an interest in science and research was less likely to become a Twitter user.

In addition, the study found only less than 20 percent of the college students surveyed actually used Twitter, suggestion the social network is not as popular as perceived. While Twitter has gained worldwide popularity over the past three years, but outside of entertainment news, it may still be considered niche.

This study is a good reminder that just because college students are young, that doesn't mean they've adopted Twitter. And if they do decide to use Twitter, it's likely because they're either very Internet savvy or they're very interested in celebrity tweets, Hargittai said.

Follow Gabriel Perna on Twitter at @GabrielSPerna