Social networks now more popular than email

Since the introduction of the internet, email has always been the most popular activity of net users. For a good reason of course, it is so easy to communicate with your clients, friends and love ones via email. It’s so convinient and very affordable.

Technology is one thing that is immune to changes. Innovation is synonymous to technology. Email is still popular but currently “Member communities” which includes both social networks and blogs, has become the fourth most popular online category – ahead of personal email.

It is growing twice as fast as any of the other four largest sectors (search, portals, PC software and email), according to The Nielsen Company’s “Global Faces and Networked Places,” a comprehensive report published revealing the new global footprint of social networking.

According to the Nielsen report, Facebook – the world’s most popular social network – is visited monthly by three in every 10 people online across the nine markets in which Nielsen tracks social networking use. Orkut in Brazil has the largest domestic online reach (70 percent) of any social network in these markets.

Other key findings include:

– One in every 11 minutes online globally is accounted for by social network and blogging sites.

– The social network and blogging audience is becoming more diverse in terms of age: the biggest increase in visitors during 2008 to “Member Community” Web sites globally came from the 35-49 year old age group (+11.3 million).

– Mobile is playing an increasingly important role in social networking. Nielsen found UK mobile Web users have the greatest propensity to visit a social network through their handset, with 23 percent (2 million people) doing so, compared to 19 percent in the US (10.6 million people). These numbers are a big increase over last year – up 249 percent in the UK and 156 percent in the US.

Among the markets Nielsen measured, penetration of visits to social networks and blogs was highest in Brazil, where 80 percent of the online audience visits such sites (see Chart 1). The share of overall Internet time for which social networks and blogs account is also highest in Brazil, where nearly one in four (23 percent) of minutes spent online is spent on these sites.

Germany saw the greatest increase in penetration of social networks and blogs across 2008, from 39 percent of the online audience in December 2007 to 51 percent in December 2008 – a relative growth of 39 percent.

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