One in Four Online Users Visit Social-Networking Sites

June 18, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Men | Social Media | Women | Youth & Gen X

Social-interaction platforms, such as top-ranked MySpace and Facebook, have grown dramatically in recent years, with one out of every four people online now visiting social-networking sites, according to the Consumer Internet Barometer produced by the Conference Board and TNS.

The Consumer Internet Barometer surveys 10,000 households across the country and tracks who’s doing what on the internet.

Some of its current findings:

  • About half of social networkers visit social-networks sites on a daily basis – and half of them (or roughly a quarter of all social networkers) say they log on several times a day.
  • Among household members, those age 12-17 are more likely than their siblings to be daily users, with 57% saying they frequent social networking sites at least once a day.
  • Most users – more than three quarters – log onto social networking sites from home, but users also log on at work, school, and public places throughout the day.
  • Women are more likely to frequent social networking sites than men; in general, women use the internet more than men for personal communication.

Don Ryan, VP of Technology and Media at TNS, said social networking sites are integral to the new media mix: “As social networking becomes a staple in people’s media experience, brands will place it alongside print, TV and search as a main advertising vehicle.”

Other findings:

  • The number-one reason cited by the vast majority of online consumers – at least four out of five – for visiting social networking sites is to be able to connect with friends.
  • About half of all users report using sites like MySpace and Facebook to update and maintain their online profile, to email, and to connect with family.
  • At least one out of five social network users log on to blog or meet new people.
  • Among the 30 and over working-age population, one out of eight uses social networking sites to conduct business.
  • Social networking sites’ ability to facilitate new dimensions of interaction – such as reconnecting with lost relationships or obtaining information about others – is the most positive experience noted by the majority of consumers.
  • Less than half of visitors say they have had a negative experience. Among those who have, common peeves include exposure of information to strangers, lack of privacy, and lack of “manners.”

“Online social networking is an integral part of many people’s lives and a natural extension of our means of communication which the internet has created. The next growth wave will be expanding and incorporating these networks into our business lives,” said Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.

About the data: The Consumer Internet Barometer is based on a quarterly survey of 10,000 households. A unique sample is surveyed each quarter. Return rates average 70%, ensuring highly representative data. Data is weighted as well to reflect the latest US household demographic information. The latest survey was conducted during the second quarter of 2008.

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