Posted March 9, 2009 4:23 pm by with 13 comments

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I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that social networking is popular. According to Nielsen Online, it’s become a whole lot more popular. From December 2007 to December 2008, social networks or blogs account for nearly 10% of all Internet time, and the “Member Communities” category of sites surpassed the email category in Internet popularity, measured by time on site. (Don’t worry, though: search, portals and software apps still edge out social networks.)


Nielsen reports that two-thirds of the world’s Internet population belongs to a social network, though the by-country stats show a little more variation: only half of Switzerland’s and Germany’s residents are on social networks, while Brazil has 80% of its population social networking (Orkut FTW!). In Brazil, one in every four minutes online is spent on a social networking site. (In the UK, it’s one of every six minutes, in the US, it’s one of every sixteen.)

On the other hand, the smaller markets are seeing the biggest growth—Germany was the fastest growing country in social network membership last year.

Facebook is the big winner in this race, however. Worldwide, the most popular social network saw a 566% increase in time spent on site last year, coming to total 20.5 billion minutes on site. (!) They also premiered a German-language version in March 2008, which has somewhat with the increased popularity of social networking in that country (although FB still lags behind more established sites).

Nielsen also documents the demographic shift to older users on social networks worldwide. The full report (PDF) includes some good suggestions for advertisers and publishers, as well as data on country- and network-specific uses.

  • Niall Harbison

    That is an insane stat! I think email will actually become even more irrelevant as more tools like twitter et come along. Email is just to slow and clunky in my opinion. Having said that it was amazing when it came along all those years ago! Always something new I guess!

    Niall Harbison’s last blog post..Use Social Media To Get Job During Recession

  • WherecanIdownloadgames

    that is really amazing!

  • PerfectMOney

    it is obvious to see them winning email ,it is more flexible ,more dynamic ,and more easy to “see “who is spamming and who is really sending message for “emergency”

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  • Chris Dowell

    This is a stat that doesn’t surprise me. E-mail is getting like the US Mail. Too Slow, spammy (unk mail) and hard to create conversations (unless you use gmail).

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  • Niche Socializer

    Wow…that’s an awesome stats..
    Social networking phenominal has destroy email popularity..
    Email is an old school, today is twitter paradise.
    For social networking site I really love Facebook 😀

    Niche Socializer’s last blog post..Niche Socializer Review Bonus – Niche Socializer: You Can Be A Social Marketing Tycoon..

  • Arianna Colt

    Is this data correct. I did some research recently and the O am certain that over 90% of Internet time is accounted for as email.
    These stats above maybe applicable for a specific demographic i.e US

  • Jordan McCollum

    No, this isn’t for a single location. The research above is quite clear—the stats are “global,” although they specifically draw their data from Australia, Brazil, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, France, the UK and the US.

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