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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Reboot the Gateway, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 7:52pm

    Method of Measurement

    That's of interest, but what would be even more interesting is how they determine this. The article sadly does nothing to answer this question.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Phillip, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 8:18pm

    who goes to email sites?

    I know I never go to email sites, that is what pop3, imap, and exchange are. The only time I ever go to webmail is if I'm away from all my computers and don't have my iPhone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Hulser, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 9:00pm

    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"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 9:21pm

    Newspaper Social Network

    The Bakersfield Californian newspaper launched an online social network, called Bakotopia.com, aimed at reaching nonreaders.

    http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/mar2009/tc2009038_509195.htm?campaign_ id=rss_tech

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Jeremy, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 2:26am

    Social Networks Are Better At Getting Rid of Spam

    Social networks only let other users email you. You still get spammed, but if too many people report it as spam, that user gets deleted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    swag, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 8:42am

    The great irony here being that e-mail's "reply all responses" problem is the foundation for many social networks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    GoEverywhere Team, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 9:24am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Carlo, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Dustin, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 11:02am

    Re: Social Networks Are Better At Getting Rid of Spam

    Really? Because I can count on one hand the number of times I've received spam in my gmail account since the service was brought online. Maybe you should stop using yahoo if your webmail experience is that bad, just sayin'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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