London tops poll for UK social networking participation

More than 4m people are involved in blogging in the UK, while just over half of people in London use social networking websites, according to the results of a new survey.

The UK-wide study, which was commissioned by online security company Garlik and conducted by YouGov, found that around 15% of the population were engaged in writing or contributing to blogs, while one in five were blogging at least once a day and spending an average of 30 minutes doing so.

London was the most popular region for social networking, attracting 51% of the population, closely followed by the South East on 48%, whereas the South West and Scotland produced the lowest participation levels with 37% and 34% respectively.

The study also looked at internet shopping habits, with the South West returning a 92% participation rate in buying goods online, followed by Scotland and the West Midlands, which were tied on 90%. No region of the UK dipped below 80%, with the North East returning the lowest online shopping participation level with 82%.

Wales was found to have the highest participation in using online dating services with 8%, followed by the West Midlands and London, which were tied on 6%. The lowest levels for finding love online by region were the North East with 2% and Yorkshire and Humberside on 1%.

The Garlik commissioned study found online banking levels to be very high across the UK, with London (85%), the North East (82%) and the East Midlands garnering the highest participation levels, with no region below 75%.

Web browsing was an activity undertaken by the vast majority of the UK population, with no region recording a participation figure of less than 95%.

Garlik said the Welsh were the most active bloggers in the UK with 23% of the population contributing to blogs, while those in Yorkshire and East of England are the "slowest" to blog, making up only 10% of contributions. The study also found that women were the most "enthusiastic" bloggers, with 23% taking part daily, compared with 17% of men.

Garlik, which offers advice to companies and individuals on identity theft, said the results of the YouGov survey helped to deconstruct some myths about online habits in the UK, while building a "fascinating picture of digital Britain".

Tom Ilube, chief executive officer of Garlik, said: "With Wales now surpassing London in blogging activity, old stereotypes are being overturned. In many cases, it's the individuals you'd least expect causing the biggest stir of activity in the online world."

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