Social Media Dominates Internet Use, Report FindsBy Nathan Eddy | Print
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Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are quickly gaining on email as the primary function Internet users employ, according to a survey by The Nielsen Company.
Americans spend nearly a quarter of their time online on social networking sites and blogs, up from 15.8 percent just a year ago (a 43 percent increase), according to research released today from The Nielsen Company. The research revealed that Americans spend one-third of their online time (36 percent) communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal e-mail and instant messaging. Use of e-mail dropped 28 percent, from 11.5 percent to 8.3 percent in the same comparable period, the report found.
"Despite the almost unlimited nature of what you can do on the web, 40 percent of U.S. online time is spent on just three activities – social networking, playing games and e-mailing ,leaving a whole lot of other sectors fighting for a declining share of the online pie," said Nielsen analyst Dave Martin.
The report also found the way U.S. consumers spend their Internet time on their mobile phones paints a slightly different picture to that of Internet use from computers. In a Nielsen survey of mobile Web users, there is a double-digit (28 percent) rise in the prevalence of social networking behavior, but the dominance of e-mail activity on mobile devices continue with an increase from 37.4 percent to 41.6 percent of U.S. mobile Internet time.
"Despite some predictions otherwise, the rise of social networking hasn’t pushed e-mail and instant messaging into obscurity just yet," the report noted. "Although both saw double-digit declines in share of time, e-mail remains as the third-heaviest activity online (8.3 percent share of time) while instant messaging is fifth, accounting for four percent of Americans online time."
Of the most heavily used sectors, videos/movies was the only other to experience a significant growth in share of U.S. activity online, according to Nielsen data. Its share of activity grew relatively by 12 percent from 3.5 to 3.9 percent. June 2010 was a major milestone for U.S. online video as the number of videos streamed passed the 10 billion mark. The average American consumer streaming online video spent 3 hours 15 minutes doing so during the month.
"Although we see similar characteristics amongst PC and mobile Internet use, the way their activity is allocated is still pretty contrasting," Martin said. "While convergence will continue, the unique characteristics of computers and mobiles, both in their features and when and where they are used mean that mobile Internet behavior mirroring its PC counterpart is still some way off."