Communication shift

There was an interesting blogpost this afternoon by the always interesting folks at Mashable.   Apparently, communicating via social networking sites has overtaken email in terms of global reach.

New stats from Nielsen Online show that by the end of 2008, social networking had overtaken email in terms of worldwide reach. According to the study, 66.8% of Internet users across the globe accessed “member communities” last year, compared to 65.1% for email. The most popular online activities remain search and Web portals (with around 85% reach) and the websites of software manufacturers.

The far-reaching study also explored a number of other trends within the social networking space. In 2008, users spent 63% more time on member communities than they did in the previous year. However, within member communities, Facebook saw growth of 566% in time spent on it by users worldwide. As has been reported elsewhere, Facebook’s fastest growth demographic is older users – the social network tacked on 12.4 million people between ages 35-49 in 2008 according to Nielsen.

I find this interesting, especially since I’ve done this myself just this morning.  I’m attending ACRL in Seattle later in the week, and sent a message to a friend via Facebook rather than sending her an email.  I’m not sure why, really.  I got a quick response (I probably would have via email, too) and we’re now having a conversation.

Is anyone else having this experience?  If you’re on Facebook, are you tending to communicate through that interface rather than email?  And if so, why?

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1 Comment

Filed under Libraries and Librarianship, Miscellaneous, Techie stuff

One response to “Communication shift

  1. Jeff Kalinoski

    I find that some of my friends prefer to send messages through Facebook. For private messages, I find this a little annoying, because I first get an email telling me I have a message (and its text content), and then I have to log onto Facebook to reply. In my mind, the real benefits of using Facebook messaging instead of email are 1) posting a public message (on a wall) so that others may see it as well, 2) contacting people whose email address you don’t have, and 3) because it’s less formal than email. If you’re contacting someone you’re not super close to, this is ideal, because a personal email might carry a little more weight than desired.

    Facebook-managed event invitations are another benefit, but that’s also bringing another level of functionality beyond a simple message, so I’m not sure that counts.

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