Social networking is a social phenomenon.

For further proof, just take a gander at new Nielsen research out today. It says Americans spend nearly a quarter of the time they're on the Internet from their PC, or about six hours a month, on social-networking sites and blogs. That's a quantum leap from a year ago, (up 43% over last year) and underscores the growing power of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The new research also reveals U.S. consumers spend the plurality of their time online, or 36% of it, communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal e-mail and instant messaging.

The rise of social networks has enhanced consumption of videos, movies and news and sports articles. "Friends and family are endorsing content to others," says Dave Martin, vice president of primary research at Nielsen.

p>And the face of that audience is getting older: Twice as many Americans over 50 visited social networks than kids under 18, Nielsen says.

Source: USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2010-08-02-networking02_ST_N.htm