Global consumers increased the amount of time they spent on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter by 82% in December 2009 compared to December 2008, according to The Nielsen Company.

Time, Unique Audience Increases for Social Networking Sites

In December 2008, global consumers spent an average of three hours, three minutes and 54 seconds on social networking sites. That amount of time increased to five hours, 35 minutes and five seconds one year later. In addition, unique audience increased 27%, from 242 million in December 2008 to 307.4 million in December 2009.

Facebook Increases US Dominance

Facebook dramatically increased its dominance of the US online social networking market between December 2008 and December 2009. In December 2009, Facebook recorded about 110 million unique visitors, a 100% increase from 55 million unique visitors in December 2008. Myspace, which remained the second-most popular US online social network, saw its number of unique visitors drop about 17%, from roughly 60 million in December 2008 to roughly 50 million in December 2009. While Twitter only recorded 18.1 million unique visitors in December 2009, this represented 579% growth from 2.7 million unique visitors a year earlier.

Aussies Love Spending Time on Social Networks

Australians’ reputation for sociability transcends into the virtual world. Although Australia only ranked number nine on the list of countries with total social network unique audience for December 2009 (9.9 million), on average Australians spent the most time on social networks for the month (six hours, 52 minutes, 28 seconds). The US by far led in unique audience during December 2009 (142 million) but came in second in terms of time spent on social networks (six hours, nine minutes, 13 seconds). Japan had the second-highest unique audience monthly total (46.5 million) but came in 10th for time spent per person (two hours, 50 minutes, 21 seconds).

Facebook Beats Text, Email

In one sign that it is truly becoming a dominant means of communication, a recent survey by Prompt Communications indicates that among a pool of 300 consumers in Boston, 96% of them use Facebook to communicate with friends and family on a regular basis. While Facebook trailed the phone at 99%, it beat text messaging at 93% and email at 91%.

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