Social Networking Sites are a Time Suck

Paul Lilly

Have you been on Facebook today? How about Twitter, YouTube, or any other of the scores of social networking sites scattered across the Web? Chances are you've visited at least one of them, and if Nielsen's latest stats are correct, you'll spend about six hours this month on social networking sites and blogs.

According to Nielsen, users are now spending 23 percent of their Internet time on social networking sites, a leap of 7 percentage points from this same time last year. This ranks as the biggest jump for any of Nielsen's online categories, which also include checking email, using Web portals, and playing games. And if we widen the social umbrella to also include communicating via blogs, personal email, and instant messaging, that number jumps to 36 percent.

"Despite the almost the almost unlimited nature of what you can do on the Web, nearly half of U.S. online time is spent on three activities -- social networking, playing games, and emailing," says Dave Martin, vice president of primary research at Nielsen.

Other activities, like shopping and random Web searches, haven't changed a whole lot, while watching online videos increased slightly from 3.5 percent to 3.9 percent from June 2009 to June 2010.

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