The rise of social networking has been one of the major stories of 21st century. Particularly over the last several years, networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have become a part of daily life. They are allowing us to connect with one another more easily than ever before, and are quite literally revolutionizing the way we communicate, shop, and live our lives.
That’s why Nielsen’s new report, State of the Media: The Social Media Report 2012 is so fascinating. Here are the eight most interesting facts from that report.
1. We are spending a lot of time on the Internet. In July 2011, US consumers spent a total of 430.4 billion minutes on the Internet. In July 2012, we spent 520.1 billion minutes, an increase of 21%.
2. People spend more time on social networks than anything else on the Internet. Nielson found that 20% of the average person’s time spent on PCs is spent on social networking. For mobile users, that figure is 30%. They also found that a staggering 17% of US consumers’ PC time is spent on Facebook alone.
3. Time spent on social networks is growing even faster. Time spent on social media went from 88.4 billion minutes in July 2011 to 121.1 billion in July 2012, a nearly 40% increase. Growth in mobile apps was particularly strong.
4. Women spend way more time on social networks than men. Women spent an average of over two more hours than men on social networks on their PCs, and about three hours more on mobile devices.
5. Pinterest’s growth is absolutely crazy, and white women are driving it. Pinterest has grown by 1,047% in just one year. Women are more than twice as likely to use the network as males across all devices, and whites are astronomically more likely to use the network than nonwhites.
6. We use social networks mostly to connect with people we actually know. The top 3 reasons for connecting with someone on a social network were because you know them in real life, you’re interested in keeping up, or you have a mutual friend.
7. But we also use social media to improve our consumer experience. Nielsen found that 47% of social media users have engaged in social care, i.e. customer service via social media. Fully one in three social media users prefer obtaining their customer care in this manner over a phone call. Most consumers connected to the company via Facebook.
8. Social media makes us happy. After participating in social media, 76% of users reported positive feelings, 24% neutral feelings, and 21% negative feelings.
There’s an innate desire among people to communicate with one another, and these technologies are allowing us to do so even faster and more continuously than ever before. Expect our use of these networks, and of the Internet generally, to keep expanding in the future.