Released in the week before Christmas, the report (subtitled Top 10 Need-to-Knows About Social Networking and Where It’s Headed) is a snapshot of the growth of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn et al over the last five years.
It encapsulates this in the fact that social networking use has more than tripled in the last few years – in March 2007 it accounted for 6% of time spent online, by October 2011 it accounted for 19%.
How did we get to the stage where nearly 1 in every 5 minutes spent online is spent on social networking sites?
“Time spent on social networking sites gained ground during this time by taking share predominantly from web-based email and instant messengers, reflecting its emergence as another primary communication channel for users,” the web analysts said.
It’s A Social World also suggests which social networks could do to Facebook what it did to MySpace.
Noting strong growth in Twitter and LinkedIn’s audiences over the past year, it says other networks with the potential to become “formidable players” on a Facebook scale could also include Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo and Tumblr.
“If these fast-growing sites are any indication, microblogging could emerge as a pivotal force shaping the future of social networking behavior,” the report says.
The report’s 10 need-to-knows about social networking are:
• Social networking is the most popular online activity worldwide
• Social networking behavior both transcends and reflects regional differences around the world
• The importance of Facebook cannot be overstated
• Microblogging has emerged as a disruptive new force in social networking
• Local social networks are making inroads globally
• It’s not just young people using social networking anymore – it’s everyone
• ‘Digital natives’ suggest communications are going social
• Social networking leads in online display advertising in the US, but lags in share of dollars
• The next disrupters have yet to be decided
• Mobile devices are fueling the social addiction