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Twitter, Facebook use up 82 percent

Time spent on social-networking sites shoots up 82 percent in December, compared with a year earlier, according to a new Nielsen study.

We're spending a lot more time tweeting and Facebooking, says Nielsen.

The average social-networking user around the world spent more than five and a half hours on sites like Facebook and Twitter in December, according to data released Monday by Nielsen. That marked an 82 percent jump from December 2008 when Tweeters and Facebookers surfed their favorite sites for around three hours the entire month.

Among all sites and applications on the Net, social networks and blogs proved the most popular in December, followed by online games and instant messaging. Now boasting 206.9 million users, Facebook was the top social-networking site in December, says Nielsen, grabbing 67 percent of social networking users throughout the world.

Among all countries, the United States led the way with the largest number of people checking out social-networking sites at 142.1 million unique visitors. Other countries at the top of the list included Japan with 46.5 million social-network users and Brazil with 31.3 million.

The average user in Australia spent the most time at social-networking sites, almost seven hours for the month. Users in the U.S., U.K., and Italy spent around six hours at their favorite sites.

Social-networking activity per country
Social networking activity per country Nielsen

In December, the average U.S. user spent more than six hours on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Time spent on Facebook in the U.S. rose 200 percent from the same month in 2008, while time on Twitter jumped 368 percent. Among the top five social-networking sites included in Nielsen's findings, Twitter continued to be the fastest growing, with the number of unique users hitting 18.1 million in December, a rise of 579 percent from December 2008.