Web users reading more, saying less, study says

Index of statistics on how Internet users spend their time shows search time is up and overall communicating time is down.

Internet users are spending more time looking at content and less time communicating with others, according to an index of Nielsen/Net Rating statistics released by the Online Publishers Association (OPA).

In 2003, Internet users spent about 46 percent of their time communicating and 34 percent reading online content. Those habits seemed to have reversed in the last four years. From January to May 2007, about 47 percent of users' time was spent looking at content and 33 percent spent on communicating.

The change in media habits can be attributed to changes in technology over the last four years, according to OPA.

"The increased popularity of video is leading to more time being spent with online content," according to the OPA reports. Time spent communicating could also be less because more people are using instant messaging (IM), which is quicker than sending e-mail.

Search time also rose. In 2003 people spent 3 percent of their time searching, and for the 2007 period measured, they spent about 5 percent.

The OPA's Internet Activity Index seems to support the results of a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project that was released in May.

It said that while tech personalities do vary, only a small percentage of people are actually participating in Web 2.0 activities.

About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.


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