Study says social media leads as communications channel

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New York—Americans are spending an increasing amount of their Internet time on social networks, which is cutting into their use of such older channels of digital communications as e-mail and the viewing of portals, according to a new study from Nielsen Co.

The company’s “What Americans Do Online” report, which monitored daily surfing habits of 220,000 people in June, found social networking took up 22.7% of users’ computer time, up from 15.8% in the same month last year. The use of online games, and watching of videos and movies online, also rose year over year.

Meanwhile, e-mail’s share of Internet usage dropped to 8.3%, from 11.5% in 2009, and the viewing of Internet portals fell to 4.4%, down from 5.5%. By contrast, e-mail increasingly thrives on mobile phones, snaring 41.6% of users’ mobile time, up from 37.4% a year ago.

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