Social Media and Social Networking

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Social Networking Up 83% in a Year, Facebook Leads the Race

Posted by Vaibhav Kalamdani on June 3, 2009

Nielsen Online released latest figures of the social networking industry, stating that the time spent on these sites jumped 83% from previous year in the U.S. While this may seem to be exciting news, the report also warns that the behavior of social networking users is erratic and can turn the tables for any popular social networking site.

Not surprisingly, Facebook led the race with about 700% increase in total time spent on the site by users. The mammoth year-on-year increase from 1.7 billion minutes in April 2008 to 13.9 billion in April 2009 made it the top performing social networking site in the category. Long term competitor MySpace slipped back 31%, while Twitter recorded a growth of over 3700%, as it can be seen from the table below.


A Nielsen Online representative indicated that the one thing that is clear about social networking sites is that even a fast growing or a big-sized site can fall quickly out of favor with consumers. It came as a warning to the now-popular social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, that even they are not immune to the changing consumer behavior, just like MySpace and Friendster.

However, the good news for MySpace is that though it failed to record growth in the past year, it managed to sneak ahead of all other social networking sites in the area of online video streaming. It captured the first position when ranked by streams and total minutes spent on video viewing, as it recorded 384 million minutes on the site (an average of 38.8 minutes per user). In contrast, Facebook recorded only 113.5 million minutes of online video viewing in April (an average of 11.2 minutes per user).

The Nielsen Online report also released statistics on the age demographic, stating that visitors between 25 to 34 years old was the highest indexing age group on Facebook, followed by 35 to 49 years old user age group. On the other hand, the highest indexing demographics on MySpace were visitors aged 18 to 24 years and 12 to 17 years – a much younger demographic compared to Facebook.

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