Nine out of 10 Britons use social media, new stats reveal

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New research reveals nine in 10 UK internet users are using social media.

According to comScore, of the 38.2m people age 15 and over who went online in May 2010, nine out of 10 visited at least one social networking site, making it the most popular online activity in the UK. That represents a user base of 33m people, and a year-on-year increase of 13%.

Engagement levels, are also increasing, the study found. The average number of hours spent using social media in the UK has grown 54% over the past year, from 4.6 hours per person in May 2009 to 7.1 hours in May 2010.

This activity is no longer the preserve of the initiated, claim researchers. Facebook – which brought social media to the masses when it began to pick up widespread acclaim less than five years ago, is now being used by eight in 10 UK internet users.

And it is not just consumers who are becoming more immersed in social media. Celebrities and brands are placing increasing emphasis on this style of media interaction. Lady Gaga’s recent rise to 10m Facebook fans – the first celebrity in the world to achieve this feat – signified the arrival of social networking as a mainstream media entity.

Whether or not Twitter, which still has a relatively low user base of 4.3m UK users, will be able to achieve the kind of mass following Facebook already enjoys remains to be seen – it is a very different way of networking. However, more media-communications tools will undoubtedly evolve over the coming years and social media looks here to stay.