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Facebook sucks (only?) 12 percent of your Internet time

Nearly one of every 8 minutes online was spent on Facebook, by U.S. Internet users last year, according to a report from comScore. The figure seems low considering how unavoidable the social networking site is, and how it is becoming The Web as we know it, the place many of us are increasingly going to as a way to  find people, information and news.

In comScore's "2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review," the research firm says that while Google and Yahoo sites "remain the most-visited Web properties" in the country, with about 180 million visitors a month, behemoth Facebook is getting more eyeball time from visitors.

"In the past year, Facebook has surpassed each of the three largest Web properties, capturing the No. 1 ranking by time spent in August 2010," the report says. "Facebook now accounts for 12.3 percent of time spent online in the U.S., up from 7.2 percent just a year ago."

The site's demographics pose an interesting juxtaposition: Facebook "saw its 35-54 year-old share of visitors decline 3.6 percentage points to 35.4 percent, while the under-18-year olds (up 1.2 points to 11.1 percent) and those age 55 and older (up 1.9 points to 13.2 percent) made the biggest gains."

Nine out of every 10 U.S. Internet users visited some kind of social networking site last year, comScore said — yes, there are other social networks, more on that in a moment — and the "average Internet user" spent more than four hours a month on such sites.

MySpace still retains a No. 2 ranking, despite "some attrition." While the site had 50 million visitors in Decembers, "its audience declined 27 percent and total time spent on the site declined 50 percent," last year, comScore said.

LinkedIn is the third largest social networking site, with 26.6 million visitors in December 2010, up 30 percent from a year ago.

And Twitter, the short-messaging blog, increased 18 percent to 23.6 million visitors in December, from the previous year.

There were some "surprise stars" that emerged in 2010, comScore said: "Tumblr.com surged 168 percent to 6.7 million monthly visitors, while Formspring.me rose in popularity amoung younger social networkers. Formspring.me (peaked) in Q2 and slowed down as the year progressed, but even so, year over year growth was more than 1,000 percent with 5.3 million visitors in December."

Among some other findings about the digital landscape in the U.S.:

  • Google search remained No. 1, with 66.6 percent of the  search market in December, 2010. Yahoo was second at 16 percent. Microsoft "reached its 2010 high point in December, representing 12 percent of explicit core searches conducted," comScore said. And, "Ask Network and AOL ... ended the year with 3.5 percent and 1.9 percent of searches conducted, respectively. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
  • An average of 179 million Americans are watching online videos on sites such as YouTube and Vimeo,comScore says. "Engagement levels also rose during the year, with viewers watching online videos more frequently. More than 88.6 million people watched online video on an average day in December 2010 (up 32 percent from December 2009)."
  • When it comes to online TV shows, "While Hulu continues to drive a large portion of this online TV viewing activity, other major
    broadcast TV sites are playing an increasing role," including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW. In the last quarter of the year, Hulu "accounted for 19.4 billion minutes," or 323 million hours, of online TV viewing, up 17 percent from the year before. (Hulu is owned by The Walt Disney Co., News Corp., Comcast Corp.'s NBC Universal and Providence Equity Partners.)

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