Report: Social Networking Passes E-Mail In Popularity
Spending time on social networking and blogging sites, categorized as "member communities" in the Nielsen report, now ranks as the fourth most popular activity on the Internet, while Web-mail visits have been bumped to fifth place. Participation in member communities grew 5.4 percent in 2008, according to the report, with 66.8 percent of Internet users visiting such sites last year against 61.4 percent doing so in 2007.
E-mailing grew 2.7 percent in 2008, bringing the total participation of global Internet users in that activity to 65.1 percent, but falling short of the new numbers for social networking, which grew at twice that rate.
Search remains the most popular activity on the Internet, with 85.9 percent of those online taking part, while general interest portals and communities attracted 85.2 percent of Internet users last year for second place. Software makers' Web sites were the third most popular destinations at 73.4 percent active reach.
Facebook has been the runaway winner as time spent on member community sites has grown from one minute in every 15 spent online by global Web surfers to one in every 11 minutes, according to Nielsen.
Total time spent by worldwide users on the entire Internet grew 18 percent from 2007 to last year, and minutes spent on member community sites grew by 63 percent in that time frame, but Facebook dwarfed both with 566 percent growth in user minutes spent on the Web site from December 2007 to December 2008.