September 12, 2011

In a report on social media published Monday, Nielsen breaks down how Americans spend their time on the Internet. The results are sobering for the online news industry. Americans spend 22.5 percent of their Internet time on social networks and blogs, and just 2.6 percent on current events & global news. Among the online activities that occupy more time than news: online games, portals, videos/movies, instant messaging and classifieds/auctions. Nielsen notes slivers of time on specialty news, including “computer and consumer electronics news,” but they’re counted in a broad “other” category. These figures were based based on Nielsen’s tracking of a panel of Internet users. Skeptical readers may note that blogs could relate to news, and portals post news stories, so take that into account.

Activity Percent of Internet time spent on it
Other (including porn) 35.1%
Social networks & blogs 22.5
Online games 9.8
Email 7.6
Portals 4.5
Videos/movies 4.4
Search 4.0
Instant messaging 3.3
Software manufacturer 3.2
Classifieds/auctions 2.9
Current events & global news 2.6

The study also shows how Tumblr has grown in the last year, increasing its unique audience by 183 percent. I was surprised to see that people spend more minutes per month on Tumblr than Twitter. (As with other measurements of Twitter use, this metric may not take into account the hard-core Twitter users who access the service via a client such as TweetDeck.) Twitter still has more monthly unique users, though. Least newsworthy fact in the report: Facebook is far and away the top social media site. || Related: Reuters’ Social Media Editor Anthony De Rosa talks with Tumblr CEO David Karp after he wrote that he was fed up with the site’s instability.

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Steve Myers was the managing editor of until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens,…
Steve Myers

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