Social networking and blogs more popular than email
Old-timers love Facebook, Nielsen says
More people visit social networking sites or blogs than use web-based email, according to a new study by Nielsen Online.
The media bean counter claims over two-thirds of the world's population frequent what it calls "member communities," which includes both social network and blogging sites. Member communities make up the fourth most popular category, overtaking email as the world's most common online activity after search, general interest portals, and PC software applications.
Nielsen said that between December 2007 and December 2008, social networking and blogging sites combined reached 66.8 per cent of the world's online population. These sites account for one in every 11 minutes spent online worldwide, according to the firm's research.
In the UK, social sites account for one in every six minutes the average internet user spends online. Nielsen also found that UK users have the highest tendency to visit a social networking site on a mobile handset, trailed by US and French audiences. The number of UK mobile social networkers is up more than three-fold over Nielsen's count last year.
Conspicuously absent from the list of online activities: pornography. As usual, Nielsen doesn't share how it arrives at its numbers, so we're left to guess whether porn is actually less popular than web email, or perhaps folks just don't view porn when being tracked by Nielsen.
Facebook takes the crown
Facebook is the most popular of the social networking sites globally, dominating the segment in the UK, Italy, Australia, France, Spain and Switzerland.
Facebook's greatest reach is in the UK, with 47 per cent of Britons online using the site, the study claims. Facebook's stake of users is also greater in both Italy (44 per cent) and Australia (38 per cent) than in its native US (33 per cent.)
Interestingly, the fastest growing demographic of Facebook users are those aged 35 to 49 years old (more than 24.1 million users). The site also has almost twice as many visitors between 50 to 64 years old (+13.6 million) compared to those under 18 years old (+7.3 million).
With age, apparently comes a greater attention span. Of the social segment, Nielsen says that Facebook has the highest average time viewing per person than any other site (three hours 10 minutes).
A copy of the Nielsen report is available here (PDF) ®
My BS meter sprang into life immediately - for starters it is impossible to sign up for any blog or social network without an email address. Then you have to factor in the fact that all social networks and blogs etc. use email to reach the people (most people in the world) who DON’T spend every minute of every day reading blogs or their Facebook page.
As many people have pointed out the Nielson research:
- does NOT claim that Member communities are more popular than email
- does not define active reach
- does not define email
- does not equate active reach with unique users
- shows that email use is growing faster than search
Here is the sanity check - forget email - even if “active reach” was a measure of popularity does anyone truly believe software manufacturers sites are more popular than all social networking sites and blogs put together?
Apart from that, what I find most irritating is how lazy commentators become when they see something that panders to their emotional beliefs; especially when it comes to the flavour of the month!
To quote Warren Buffet “it's wonderful to promote new industries because they are very promotable. It’s hard to promote investment in a mundane product. It's much easier to promote an esoteric product, even particularly one [that doesn’t make money], because there is no quantitative guideline.”
CEO Alchemy Worx
The Email Marketing Agency
What is email - skewed definitions skew results?
There is a world of difference between "email" and "web based email", with the greater number of people that I know using "real" email - a client and a mail server - rather than a web version.
Design of a study is paramount in getting meaningful results. This looks like a case of taking a metric because it is "easy to measure" rather than trying to capture the full spectrum of online activity.
Useful definitions are crucial. The amount of time spent writing and reading email is hard to measure because the client typically connect to the server only to check for or transmit mail. Thus,.in my case, there is a connection for a few milliseconds every ten minutes, interspersed with email uploads and downloads. I, however, am continuously engaged in reading and writing.
If you are trying to measure user involvement in an online process, I am continuously engaged, though it is not as easy to measure as time spent on a web site.
A more useful comparative measure might be the number of words posted on blogs and on web sites, compared to the number of words emailed. That, however, would emphasize sending over receiving. Counting messages is only relevant if the approximate message size is similar.
And someone clicking on a web page does not actually mean that they read anything... being "logged in" to a web site is equally meaningless. I am often "logged in" to a social site, but the window is buried on my desk top for several hours. Does that mean I get credited with several hours of social networking, rather than the 10 minutes it actually took?
These "high level" reports without methodology, design, and anything but statistical reductions of data are too often meaningless or misleading. Without the survey design, sampling scheme, questions, statistical criteria and analytical methods, and survey methodology there is really no way to judge whether anything in the report is valid.
All the world comprises nine countries?!
Why did you copy and paste this PR crap?