Last Updated Jun 3, 2009 12:48 AM EDT
Measuring the time spent on these sites (ToS) is getting to be a little like astronomy because the numbers are so vast as to challenge comprehension. You can examine the raw numbers here, but I'm going to translate them into something a tad more palpable, I hope.
Collectively, the 200 million or so Facebook users spent the equivalent of over 9.5 million years on the site in April. This averages out to 70 minutes per person, or roughly three complete days -- about 10 percent of the month.
That, my friends, is a lot of face-time, and no other social media site can boast anything like Facebook's hold on its audience. Twitter's much smaller user base, by contrast, collectively spent around 140,555 years Tweeting, reTweeting, or Following in April, according to the report. (Due to the lack of comparable traffic figures for Twitter, I cannot offer an equivalent estimate of ToS per user at this time.)
The overall use of social media grew by 83 percent year-over-year. Beyond the micro-blogging and social networking sites, there was also a substantial amount of growth in ToS recorded by blog platforms. Blogger grew by 30 percent over the past year; the smaller LiveJournal logged a 273 percent growth rate.
But, the second-largest social media site, MySpace, lost 31 percent of its audience.
Meanwhile, Twitter's annual Tos growth rate , as measured by Nielsen, was an astounding 3,712 percent -- well over five times that of Facebook's, at 699 percent. Together, if this should continue, a year from now the two sites will collectively have users spending some 72 million years per month on their sites.
By then, we may need another "new math" to track this kind of stuff.