If you thought you wasted a lot of time on Facebook last year, this year things have gotten out of hand, according to a study by Nielsen Online. Time spent last year reading our friends' Facebook Updates and sharing "25 Random Things About Me" questionnaires totaled 1.7 billion minutes compared to this year's total of 13.9 billion. That's a 700 percent increase in time spent virtually loafing around, according to Nielsen Online that just loves to tell us how we waste our time. (First, television. Now, Twitter.)
Speaking of which, that chirpy social network, Twitter, has come onto the scene like a new kid on the block that drives a Mercedes. Everybody wants to be Twitter's friend - including Microsoft. Twitter saw a 3712 percent year-over-year increase between last and this year, with users clocking in nearly 300,000 total minutes for that site in April '09.
And for all you MySpace holdouts: That site can still claim top audience for social network video streams. Users spent 384 million minutes viewing video on MySpace in April versus only 113.5 minutes for video on Facebook.
Nielsen Online also recently released a report (PDF) that says we like blogs and social networks better than our personal email. Facebook holds our attention for longer than any other top site. And time spent on social networking and blogging sites has grown at 3 times the rate of overall Internet growth.
"The staggering increase in the amount of time people are spending on these sites ... has ramifications for how people behave, share and interact within their normal daily lives," according to Nielsen's "Global Faces and Networked Places" report (PDF).
Gulp. That's quite the charge.
But don't you go shaking your head and muttering, "Kids, these days," under your breath. It's the youngsters who might actually be taking a back seat at the family desktop, and their embarrassing parents who are increasingly wooed by friend requests from their long-lost college classmates, and quizzes about what literary heroine they are.
The greatest growth for Facebook has come from the 35- to 49-year-old crowd, and has added twice as many 50- to 64-year-old members than it did of the under-18 group.
There are, after all, way more people to network with after you've been around for 50 years than there are when you're just starting out as a social being.