Facebook: More popular than games and email

If you still doubt the power of social media, the Nielsen
Company would beg to differ. New research from the ratings service finds sites
like Facebook and MySpace are dominating nearly one-quarter of the time
Americans spend online these days.

The sites are so popular that their usage is more than twice
that of video games and triple that of email. And they’re growing at an
incredible rate.

The report from Nielsen, entitled “What Americans do
Online,” finds that nearly 23 percent of time spent online in the U.S. is
spent on social networks – an increase of 43 percent from a similar study a
year ago. Online games clock in at 10 percent – a number that’s likely to
increase over the next year as big PC titles such as “Starcraft II” and an
expansion pack for “World of Warcraft” arrive at retail. (Click the chart above for the full breakdown.) 

Email, meanwhile is down to 8 percent – a 28 percent drop
from the 2009 study. And online videos take up a paltry 4 percent of people’s
online time.

That’s part of the reason companies like Disney are spending
big money to buy developers of social network games
. The audience is there –
and it’s one of the best ways to promote products online these days.

Or, at the very least, it’s the best way to take advantage
of people’s lack of productivity. 

(A full look at the study can be found at Nielsen’s site.)

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