Facebook Dominates U.S. Web Usage

The internet is often vaunted as a productivity booster but it seems U.S. web users spend nearly a quarter of their online time on blogs and social networks such as Facebook.

A Nielsen study found that social networking takes up 23% of American’s online time, with Facebook accounting for 85% of that. The next biggest categories were games at 10% and email at 8%.

Web users are spending more time than ever on social networks – at the expense of other activities. This time a year ago, the same Nielsen study found social networking accounted for 16% of U.S. web users time, while email, then the second most popular online activity, took a 12% share. In total Americans spend more than a third of their online time (36%) communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal email and instant messaging.

Videos and movies was the other sector to experience significant growth – its share of activity grew from 3.5% to 3.9% over the past year, a 12% rise based on the raw numbers. In June 2010 the number of videos streamed passed the 10 billion mark.

It’s a different story in the mobile internet world, where email remains the dominant activity with a 42% share of online time, up from 37% a year ago. Portals are second at 12%, down from 14%, and social networking is third at 11%, up from 8%.