Social Networking has been the global consumer phenomenon of 2008. Two-thirds of the world’s Internet population1 visit a social network or blogging site and the sector now accounts for almost 10% of all internet time. ‘Member Communities’2 has overtaken personal Email to become the world’s fourth most popular online sector after search, portals and PC software applications.
The story is consistent across the world, ‘Member Communities’ has taken a foothold in every major market from 50% of the online population in Switzerland and Germany to 80% in Brazil. Facebook has become the largest player on the global stage, dominant in many countries, yet localised offerings have won the day in many others.
However, the growth in popularity of social networks – and the resultant broadening audience – is only half the story. The staggering increase in the amount of time people are spending on these sites is changing the way people spend their time online and has ramifications for how people behave, share and interact within their normal daily lives.