Social Networks Now More Popular Than Email, Report Says

from the you've-got-a-poke dept

A new report says that “member communities” — sites like social networks and blogs — are now more popular than email. The Nielsen report says that two out of three internet users, in the eight countries it tracks, visit social sites more than email sites visit member communities, a higher percentage than use email. Though usage remains behind search, portal and PC software sites, the social-site usage is growing at a far faster pace than any of them. The methodology here is a bit odd, and the classifications of sites not immediately clear, but, if anything, the report underlines how users’ online time, as well as their communication, is shifting towards social networks and, perhaps, away from email. This makes sense: as more and more people are spending more and more time inside social networks, it follows that they’ll communicate within them, rather than outside them via email. Email still has tremendous value, but also brings plenty of problems, from spam to annoying reply-all responses. As long as in-social-network communication can improve on this experience and offer benefits over email, its use will continue to grow. But that advantage can be fleeting, particularly as problems like spam move to social networks. If social network-based communication becomes as polluted as email, it can’t expect to hold its popularity for long.

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Comments on “Social Networks Now More Popular Than Email, Report Says”

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14 Comments
Hulser says:

Internet time not web "sites"

The Nielsen report says that two out of three internet users, in the eight countries it tracks, visit social sites more than email sites.

Carlo, maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t think that this is accurate. Neither the article you linked to nor the Nielson study link uses a unit of measure of “site”. As another poster pointed out, this would make no sense as many people — I would guess most people — don’t access e-mail through “sites” i.e. web sites, but instead through e-mail applications.

Here’s a quote from the Nielson study at http://www.nielsen-online.com/pr/pr_090309.pdf

SOCIAL NETWORKS & BLOGS NOW 4TH MOST POPULAR ONLINE ACTIVITY, AHEAD OF
PERSONAL EMAIL, NIELSEN REPORTS
“Time Spent” on These Sites Growing Three Times Faster than Overall Internet Rate, Now
Accounting for Almost 10 Percent of all Internet Time
New York, NY – March 9, 2009 – Now visited by over two-thirds (67 percent) of the global* online
population, “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 today revealing the new global footprint of social networking.

In spite of the fact that the area of Internet usage which has gained the majority are types of web sites, it seems clear from their own results that Nielson’s unit of measure for the study is time, not “sites”

Carlo (user link) says:

Re: Internet time not web "sites"

Hi Hulser,

Thanks for the comment… you’re right in that I mischaracterized it, but you’re not right about the measurements being about time. Nielsen’s “popularity” claim is based on based on the percentage of internet users that access the different types of services (see the full report (PDF) for more).

Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

GoEverywhere Team (user link) says:

I don’t know that social media can become as polluted because you choose you follow. It’s easier to manage in that regard, because it’s so nice not to have to weed through the junk mail!

I actually access Twitter and Facebook on my webtop whenever I log on – it’s my preferred medium for easy interaction with colleagues, clients, and friends. And since I’m already on Twitter and Facebook for social reasons, it gives me one less application that I need to open and weed through.

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Well, just like letter, e-mail is a good carrier of our feelings, we can share our feelings with friends,lover,etc. But how often we wrote to our friends or lover through letters before? And how often we write to our friends or lover through e-mail today? Share feelings is always difficult, no matter when. But on other aspects, such as information searching, many things become easy. So I think this may be one reason that make social networks more popular, because we need more information.

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my opinion

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