Social networking is a more popular online activity than email, according to a new survey.
The survey by market research firm Nielsen Online found that on average one of every 11 minutes spent online around the world is devoted to social networking and blogging sites.
The survey identified Facebook as the world’s most popular social network with 108.3 million users, followed by MySpace with 81 million users.
Far behind in third place was Classmates Online, with 19.7 million users; Orkut, with 17.5 million users; and Linkedin, with 15 million users.
Facebook seemed to be the most addictive of the social networking sites with the average user spending three hours and 10 minutes online every month, the survey found.
But Orkut had by far the highest penetration in any single country with 70 per cent of online Brazilians using the Google-owned service.
The survey found that growth in social networking was three times as fast as the pace of general online growth with much of that acceleration coming from the middle-aged.
The most popular age group with Facebook in terms of growth is the 35-49 category, which increased by 24.1 million people last year.
The category of men and women aged 65 and above moving to social networking grew by 7.0 per cent, while the 17-and-under category dropped by 9.0 per cent.