People spend more time on social media: 10 countries compared

End of last week, The Nielsen Company released some data on its nielsenwire regarding the global use of social media. Well, it’s not really global: Nielsen followed the evolutions in ten countries, to be precise.

For starters The Nielsen Company found that the global time that ‘users’ spend on social media sites has gone up with 82% on a year-to-year basis.

Now, this can be due to many reasons. One of them might be that more and more people are feeling lonely, looking for some sense of belonging on social media and that social networks replace the ‘real relationships’ that are getting increasingly lost in the modern society of fear and isolation. It can also be a sign that social media adoption is growing, becoming mainstream and mature.

And I’m pretty sure the recession plays a role too. After all, where do you go to have fun if you lost your job or have to tighten the belt, right?

My guess? I think it’s a little of everything, reality is not black or white but grey, always. You might not like my psychological and sociological explanations but, hey, that’s me. If you don’t like them just remember that social media adoption is growing, becoming mainstream and mature. Happier?

Well, all this being said, back to Nielsen. The company found that the “consumers”, as they call social media users, in the ten countries they follow spent more than 5.5 hours on social networking sites (including Twitter) in December 2009.

In December 2008 it was just over three hours. Not only the time spent rose: also “the overall traffic to social networking sites has grown over the last three years”.

Further Nielsen found that social networks and blogs are the “most popular online category”, which means that, from a time spent viewpoint, they top other online activities or destinations like online games and instant messaging. The latter two, in fact, follow social networks and blogs.

Now a word on these ten countries. Let me first say what countries we’re talking about: obviously, U.S. and then U.K., Australia, Brazil, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain and Italy

When looking at the time spent per person, we see that Australia scores best, followed by U.S., U.K. and Italy. In each of these four countries the average time spent per person is higher than six hours.

Twitter is the fastest grower

From a unique audience perspective, the U.S clearly leads the pack with approximately three times as many unique visitors than number, two, Japan. The rest of the top 5 consists of (in order) Brazil, U.K. and Germany.

Finally, the top U.S. social media site is clearly Facebook, followed by MySpace that’s losing visitors again.

The fastest grower is of course Twitter with a 579% year-over-year increase, from 2.7 million unique visitors in December 2008 to 18.1 million in December 2009(!).

What else can I say? That there are more data and nice graphics that I didn’t include in this post, but that you can see in all their glory right here.

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