Following recent reports of a substantial drop in Facebook users—about 6 million people in the U.S. have supposedly quit the site—comScore’s latest findings prove that social networking is, in fact, more popular than ever.
According to the Web analytics firm, over the past five years, the amount of time that people spend on social networks has doubled. In 2007, social networking represented about 1 out of every 12 minutes spent online. Now, that’s risen to 1 out of every 6 minutes. How’s that for time well spent?
Much of this trend can be attributed to the continued success of Facebook, which is the fourth-largest U.S. Web property in audience size and now reaches 73 percent of the total U.S. Internet population each month. At this point, a constant increase in users probably won’t be sustainable, says comScore, so Facebook’s future U.S. growth is likely to come from users’ increasing their amount of time spent on the site—which seems to be working so far. According to one stat, Facebook’s average U.S. visitor engagement has grown from 4.6 hours to 6.3 hours per month over the past year.
Other social networking sites are booming, too. LinkedIn has reached all-time U.S. audience highs in 7 of the past 12 months and has grown 58 percent overall in the past year, says comScore. Twitter, with 27 million U.S. visitors in May, has had a 13 percent increase in users in the same time period. And relative newcomer Tumblr has stepped up its game to become a major player in social networking, growing 166 percent over the past year to reach 10.7 million visitors in May. “It still has a ways to go before we can mention it in the same breath as LinkedIn or Twitter, but it just might get there if it maintains its current trajectory,” states the comScore report.