"As usual, Nielsen doesn't share how it arrives at its numbers,..."
If I can't review their methodology I will assume their numbers came out off a lottery wheel.
More people visit social networking sites or blogs than use web-based email, according to a new study by Nielsen Online. The media bean counter claims over two-thirds of the world's population frequent what it calls "member communities," which includes both social network and blogging sites. Member communities make up the …
No they don't. I doubt it's even close. I know of precisely zero people who aren't teenagers that use social networking sites, which is after all their target audience. And even if they only polled teenagers to get their numbers, I'd still say they're lying, because almost no one under the age of 21 uses anything other than webmail as an email client. And a fair amount of the rest of us are the same.
The only adults that use social networking sites are probably going through some sort of tech midlife crisis. They can't accept they are no longer thought of as the tech generation and are simply doing the online version of buying a cheap sports car.
Thing is Webmail is the ultimate spam filter. Generally you keep your work and isp email accounts to your friends, coworkers and family. Online shopping, stalking, etc is all done via webmail accounts, which you can ditch as soon as your inbox starts receiving porn and pill spam..
...to know that this is completely flawed.
As someone already pointed out, this does not track non-web based email for a start.
Secondly, all "member communities" are lumped together. So it is not just social networking sites, but also blogging sites. Lump enough categories together and you could also claim that religious interest, knitting, motor racing, poetry and gun fetish sites etc *could* be bigger than webmail as well.
About as useful as a chocolate teapot.
No disrespect! Tis is a cool gimmick if nothing else!
OK Soo....El Reg commenteers...anti M$, anti Apple, Pro nix but anti Facebook....
I would like to stand and be counted as an @AC and say...I like El Reg..makes me cry laughing sometimes, I work an M$ environment and apart from the really annoying oversight in AD (server 2003) where you can't do peeps out of office for them it seems to work pretty damn fine. I have an iPod it's a 20gb 2G one...very old but battery is still going strong.
I have a number of test comps....I put Ubuntu LAMP on one, for about literally half an hour....went back to Centos! Much better IMHO
I like facebook! OK much spam, I choose to ignore it. I know I'm not gonna turn the El Reg demographic with one post, but if like me you have friends all over the world then it's a damn fine place to share what you're doing!
AC cos I'm scared!
So when I open up Firefox and log on to Gmail, facebook, amazon, and eBay simultaneously and leave them open and logged in all day whilst browsing various sites in other tabs and doing stuff in other applications whilst they sit there in the background, does that all count as part of the "viewing time" for these sites? I can only really look at one tab at any one moment, and for the majority of time that I'm logged into a site, I'm not actually looking at it..
I echo Robert Brockway's comments, above, regarding transparency of methodology.
Having said that, it's vaguely interesting to observe the migration away from webmail toward the messenging functions of facebook et al. I find it particularly annoying insofar as formatting text and adding links and attachments is concerned. But hey, for those folk who haven't experienced Gmail's spam filtering, forgoing a few formatting features when using facebook's mail function will seem like heaven compared to the hellish experience that is Hotmail.
There is a world of difference between "email" and "web based email", with the greater number of people that I know using "real" email - a client and a mail server - rather than a web version.
Design of a study is paramount in getting meaningful results. This looks like a case of taking a metric because it is "easy to measure" rather than trying to capture the full spectrum of online activity.
Useful definitions are crucial. The amount of time spent writing and reading email is hard to measure because the client typically connect to the server only to check for or transmit mail. Thus,.in my case, there is a connection for a few milliseconds every ten minutes, interspersed with email uploads and downloads. I, however, am continuously engaged in reading and writing.
If you are trying to measure user involvement in an online process, I am continuously engaged, though it is not as easy to measure as time spent on a web site.
A more useful comparative measure might be the number of words posted on blogs and on web sites, compared to the number of words emailed. That, however, would emphasize sending over receiving. Counting messages is only relevant if the approximate message size is similar.
And someone clicking on a web page does not actually mean that they read anything... being "logged in" to a web site is equally meaningless. I am often "logged in" to a social site, but the window is buried on my desk top for several hours. Does that mean I get credited with several hours of social networking, rather than the 10 minutes it actually took?
These "high level" reports without methodology, design, and anything but statistical reductions of data are too often meaningless or misleading. Without the survey design, sampling scheme, questions, statistical criteria and analytical methods, and survey methodology there is really no way to judge whether anything in the report is valid.
My BS meter sprang into life immediately - for starters it is impossible to sign up for any blog or social network without an email address. Then you have to factor in the fact that all social networks and blogs etc. use email to reach the people (most people in the world) who DON’T spend every minute of every day reading blogs or their Facebook page.
As many people have pointed out the Nielson research:
- does NOT claim that Member communities are more popular than email
- does not define active reach
- does not define email
- does not equate active reach with unique users
- shows that email use is growing faster than search
Here is the sanity check - forget email - even if “active reach” was a measure of popularity does anyone truly believe software manufacturers sites are more popular than all social networking sites and blogs put together?
Apart from that, what I find most irritating is how lazy commentators become when they see something that panders to their emotional beliefs; especially when it comes to the flavour of the month!
To quote Warren Buffet “it's wonderful to promote new industries because they are very promotable. It’s hard to promote investment in a mundane product. It's much easier to promote an esoteric product, even particularly one [that doesn’t make money], because there is no quantitative guideline.”
CEO Alchemy Worx
The Email Marketing Agency
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