Instant Messaging Falls Victim to Social Networking Dominance

The UK Online Measurement company (UKOM) has published statistics which suggest that the average internet user spends nearly one day every month online. This represents an increase of 65% when compared to three years ago but in that time, the use of IM has dropped dramatically, accounting for just 4.9% of online time in 2010 compared to 14% in 2007.

​Email had also been predicted to suffer due to the rise of sites like Facebook and Twitter but statistics do not reflect this trend. In fact, the use of email has increased to 7.2% of total internet time now, compared to 6.5% in 2007. However, the explosion in social networking over the last three years is clearly demonstrated, with nearly a quarter of all internet time in the UK devoted to it. Gaming also came in strongly, taking up 6.9% of online time. Another field that is experiencing growth is online news, which has increased from 1.5% to 2.7% of total online time. This may add fuel to the fire of those who are toying with the idea of offering a paid-for news service as companies look at ways of making profit from their currently free online content. This is a particularly prevalent issue to media moguls as the internet has taken many people away from traditional print media, meaning that many newspaper companies are struggling financially. The “digital myth” that the internet’s sole purpose revolves around pornography has also been debunked, as the survey reveals that people spend more time on news sites than adult sites. Only 2.7% of online time is dedicated to titillating pursuits but the fact that adult content still makes the top 10 of the 85 categories surveyed suggests that this industry is still strong. Speaking about the survey, Alex Burmaster, a spokesman for UKOM, suggested that the rise of social networking has occurred due to its organic nature. He suggested that the internet “is like an organism, feeding off itself and getting bigger. People are plugging more and more of their lives into it.” The results came out on the same day that a survey was published by Weight Watchers UK Ltd, which suggests that the average Briton spends 14 hours 39 minutes of every day sitting down. Of this time, they spend an average of 2 hours 25 minutes on a computer at home. The rise to prominence of the internet in our day-to-day lives over the last ten years shows no sign of abating and new developments in online video streaming and media suggests that the next ten years will see it become an even more dominant influence. The rise of social networking has given us access to more people and introduced us to new perspectives and interests, from news to leisure pursuits, and shopping to banking. The world of wonder that has been opened up is like a Pandora’s Box and it seems that nothing will stop us from being sucked in.

Charlotte is chief whip when it comes to making sure words are in order at ICS-digital. You can get in touch with her directly at