Social Media Draws Usage From Other Web Offerings

For the average Web user, social networking is stealing time away from traditional core Web communications activities like instant messaging and email. However, despite the popularity of social media, content sites rule.

Those are two key takeaways from the latest Internet Activity Index , an annual report issued by the Online Publishers Association which measures Web activity on a macro basis. According to the report, the average adult Web user spend just over three hours per month on ‘Community’ sites—such as Facebook. Those three hours have cut into time spend on ‘Communications’ platforms, which has declined since the OPA began conducting its Internet Activity Index—going from and average of five hours and twenty minutes in 2003 to four hours and fifty four minutes in 2009.

However, it is content that commands the majority of Web users’ attention these days. While communications accounted for the largest amount of time spent in 2003, time on content sites has surged by 88 percent since then, going from  three hours and forty two minutes to nearly seven hours, on average. Community was not measured as its own category in 2003.

Meanwhile, though it still represents the smallest share of time spent given its quick, task-oriented nature, search has enjoyed the biggest spike in usage over the past six years, per the OPA. Back in 2003 users average just 27 minutes per months using search, this year they average 57 minutes, a spike of 111 percent.