Social Network Usage at All Time High

(Ping! Zine) – A new report released by Nielsen Online shows that Americans are spending the bulk of their time on the internet on social networking sites. Although the trend is nothing new, the numbers have been showing a constant increase.

According to the report, in 2009 social networks took up 15.8 percent of our online usage. However, that figure has now grown to 22.7 percent, showing a 43 percent increase in a year. Meanwhile, two other categories – video/movies and online games – both saw double-digit gains in usage time, 12 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

The two categories that took the biggest hits were e-mail and instant messaging which are down 28 percent and 15 percent.

The Nielsen report also notes that the Web usage habits change in the mobile landscape. The report states:

The way U.S. consumers spend their Internet time on their mobile phones paints a slightly different picture to that of Internet use from computers. In a Nielsen survey of mobile web users, there is a double-digit (28 percent) rise in the prevalence of social networking behavior, but the dominance of email activity on mobile devices continue with an increase from 37.4 percent to 41.6 percent of U.S. mobile Internet time.”

Likewise, music and video/movies on mobile also saw increases of more than 20 percent in share of activity, compared to a year ago. Again, there are only so many hours in a day so, when one category gains, another must lose. On the mobile side, news/current events and sports destinations saw drops of more than 20 percent in share of time.

On the other hand, when you consider that users now have Internet access on their mobile devices, it can create a shift in habits that would explain the shifts that Nielsen is seeing. For example, it seems that if a user can spend time hammering away at e-mail on a mobile device while waiting in line at the bank or during the subway ride home, they don’t need to bother with that from their home PCs and can instead spend time interacting on Facebook or otherwise use the home PC as an entertainment device.