A new report into online activity has found that in 2008 social networking sites attracted more visitors than web-based personal email services for the first time.
The report, from online market researcher Nielsen, found that 66.8% of Internet surfers visited a ‘member community’ site during the year, compared with 65.1% who visited personal email services.
There was also a phenomenal rise in the amount of time people spend on social networks. While Facebook, the world’s most popular social network, saw a 168% growth in visitors during 2008, it also saw a staggering 566% increase in the total amount of time spent on the site.
Social networking also dominated the mobile web, especially in the UK which saw a 249% increase in mobile access to social networking sites in 2008.
Search is still top dog on the web, with 85.9% of web users having visited a search engine, followed by ‘general interest portals’ and the sites of software manufacturers. Social networks and email ranked fourth and fifth respectively.