Social networks now part of the fabric of users’ lives
Social networks are increasingly becoming a part of the fabric of people’s lives as online users become more strategic in their use of the channels in their social and professional activities.
That is one of the major findings in research by UK communications industry regulator Ofcom, which says there has been a major rise in consumers use of social networking websites.
Ofcom’s findings revealed that about 19 million people in the UK – which amounts to half of all internet users – visit Facebook spending an average of six hours a month on the website. This is an increase from four hours in May 2008. The report also found that the proportion of 25 to 34-year-olds who said they had a social networking website grew by six percentage points in a year to 46% while the figure also rose among 35 to 54-year-olds to 35%.
Ofcom’s findings illustrate the growing importance of online social networks which have also migrated into people’s professional lives in the UK and across the globe. For example, direct employee relationships – fostered over business social networking websites such as Linkedin – are threatening the supremacy of recruitment agencies. The first Digital Generation survey found that 43% of young workers from 83 countries had had someone join their organisation as a result of a personal recommendation.
Martin Warner, chief executive and co-founder of TalkbizNow.com, a business social networking website, commented: “The popularity of social networks is expected to continue to rise in the coming months and years. They are now part of the fabric of people’s lives. But people are now becoming more strategic about the way they use social networks. We are seeing in the current recession more and more people turning to social networking sites to connect with potential employers. Companies – especially small businesses – are seeing the value of using this new media to find talent and win new business.”