Social Networking Named UK’s Most Popular Online Activity

People often say that Brits can be unsociable and reserved but it looks like social networking sites have given us a new lease of life as social networking has been named as the most popular online activity in the UK.

Social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, pipped entertainment sites like the BBC iPlayer and sports streaming sites to the post as the UK’s favourite online activity, a new survey has suggested.

Social networking sites were visited a massive 2.4 billion times in January alone – so the fact that it’s top of the pile for online users is hardly surprising, but what is surprising is what it beat to the top spot.

Not content with having more visits than entertainments sites – which historically have had more visitors – it also beat the search engines to the top spot as well.

According to the new data from Experian Hitwise social networking sites are top dog in the online world and claimed more online time than any other activity. On average, 22 minutes were spent on social networking sites in one sitting during January 2011.

Experian Hitwise’s Research Director, Robin Goad, has suggested that Facebook is largely responsible for the rise – and now have more than 30 million registered users here in the UK. Facebook alone accounted for 56% of the UK’s traffic to social networking sites, with YouTube and Twitter second and third favourites.

YouTube was described by Goad as the “elephant in the room” since it operates as both a social network and an entertainment channel – technically falling into both categories. He said: “It straddles both web genres as it displays both entertainment features and social tools – but its inclusion in both lists shows how much social and entertainment sites are starting come together.”

In the entertainment section YouTube was King, closely followed by the BBC homepage and iPlayer. For social networks, the most popular after Facebook and Twitter were Tumblr and Linked In.

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