HK Business News

Social Media Usage Explodes in 2012, led by Facebook

It is hard to think of the Internet without social networking sites, especially Facebook. 

Consumers spend more time on social networks than any other site — about 20 percent via a PC, and 30 percent using a mobile device, Nielsen’sSocial Media Report revealed.

Still not impressed? The report also tips a 37 percent increase in the total time spent on social media in the U.S., reaching 121 billion minutes in July, compared to 88 billion in summer 2011.

The ultimate social network, Facebook, remains the most-visited in the U.S., and earned the title of most popular Web brand in the U.S. this year. It reached 152.2 million PC visitors, 78.4 million app users, and 74.3 million mobile Web surfers. That dwarfs social sites in all categories (see graphic below), beating No. 2 Blogger by more than 93.7 million PC users. In the mobile app race, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google+, and Pinterest carry the top five spots.

Top networks like Facebook and Twitter have profound staying power in a world where social media options are expanding every day, including breakout star Pinterest, which boasted what Nielsen reported is the largest year-over-year increase — 1,698 percent.

Overall Internet connections are on the rise, as well, drawing more than 80 percent increases in mobile Web and app usage in the last year; PCs dropped 4 percent. Meanwhile, tablets, handheld music players like the iPod touch, game consoles, Internet-enabled TVs, and e-readers are slowly boosting connectivity.

With so many mobile options, it appears nearly a third of people ages 18 to 24 write Facebook comments, send tweets, and perhaps even blog from the comfort of their bathroom. Those ages 25 to 34 are more likely to use social networking in the office.

For all of the celebrity accounts and political usage accrued by social media, it seems that people still focus on connecting with friends and family members. More than 60 percent of people turn on Facebook to keep up with someone they know in real life, while 9 percent initiate LinkedIn contact because of a person’s physical attractiveness, Nielsen reported.

Overall, about 41% of tablet owners and 38% of smart phone owners uses those devices at least once a day while watching TV.

During June 2012 about 33% of active twitter users were tweeting about TV, up from 26% in January of 2012.

Computers remain by far the most popular way to access social media sites, with 94% of the respondents reporting accessing a social media site via a computer. The survey also showed significant increases in mobile social media usage, with 46% reporting they accessed social media networks via such a device, up from 37% in 2011. As for tablets, 16%of respondents indicated they access social media sites that way, up from just 3% in 2011.

About the author

Alan Chiu Tsang

Alan is a freelancer photographer and author for
He graduated from Hong Kong university in 2005.