Have you recently been poking your friends, twittering, or blogging? Well, according to a recent report from the global research company Nielson, you are most definitely not alone.
The report says that social networking and blogs have now become more popular than sending personal emails. Moreover, one in every 11 minutes online is accounted for by people using social network or blog sites.
The idea behind these sites is that of global online communities. To join a community you need to create a personal profile. Then you can connect with your friends, share pictures, music and your thoughts.
Social networks are not new but they are evolving. Almost all the networks popular in the UK can now be accessed from a mobile phone. Sites such as Facebook seem popular with a broad audience largely thanks to bolt-on applications which allow everything from photo-sharing to online gaming.
Not to be outdone, the longer-established sites are carving a niche for themselves in the online marketplace. Myspace is now largely accepted as the social network of choice for music fans and Bebo appears to be targeting younger audiences through the provision of parental controls.
One of the most talked about sites of late has been Twitter, with everyone from P Diddy to Barack Obama twittering about their daily lives. Whether this is a clever public relations stunt or a means of directly communicating with fans, it is undoubtedly fascinating social commentary.
Of course, there are those who fear that these online communities may in fact be anti-social. They are anxious that the more time people spend on these sites, the more difficult it will become for them to communicate in face-to-face situations.
We will have to wait to see the long-term effects but in the meantime we can rest assured that a large percentage of the world is online with us.
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