How we spend our time online
If you think you are spending far too much time on Facebook, that’s because you are! Or at least that appears to be one conclusion from a study released yesterday.
According to its annual “What Americans Do Online” report, market research company Nielsen found that we are collectively spending 22.7 percent of our Internet time on social networking, up a whopping 43 percent over 2009. Social networking is well ahead of online gaming (10.2%), while time spent on e-mail, web portals (Yahoo, AOL, etc.) and instant messaging round out the Top 5.
Although social networking includes MySpace and Twitter activity, there’s no doubt about the real culprit when looking at the year-on-year increase: Facebook accounts for 85 percent of all time spent on social networks.
Although online gaming lags far behind, it did show a double digit increase over the prior year and managed to push e-mail into third place. According to Nielsen, the actual online gaming numbers might even be higher, given that games such as FarmVille and Mafia Wars are played on the Facebook platform, resulting in a certain amount of overlap.
“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 emailing – leaving a whole lot of other sectors fighting for a declining share of the online pie,” said Nielsen analyst Dave Martin.
As far as the mobile Web is concerned, e-mail is still king, no doubt bolstered by all those business types tapping away on their BlackBerrys. However, social networking is catching up here too, accounting for 28 percent of mobile Web time, as opposed to 41.6 percent for e-mail.
With the over-50 crowd continuing to sign up on Facebook at twice the rate of younger age groups, we shouldn’t expect the trend to change anytime soon. With photos of grandchildren to admire, high school and college groups to join – not to mention old flames to track down – they’re just getting started!