Socialising online luring an older crowd: study

Teenagers are being joined by more people aged in their 20s and 30s on social networking websites as the trend of Socialising online continues to expand, according to a survey.

Figures from online intelligence service Hitwise showed visits to the top 20 social networking website such as MySpace rose by 11.5 percent from January to February.

News Corp's MySpace, which has 80 percent of market share, is still the most popular site but newcomers like Buzznet and iMeem are gaining ground, although they still have a long way to go.

"Social networking has been rising in popularity steadily for the past two to three years," said LeeAnn Prescott, the director of research at Hitwise.

"I don't think it has reached a point of saturation yet. People are still discovering social networks, finding out what they can do with it and integrating it into their online activities," she added in an interview.

She attributed the increase visits to the site to more teenagers discovering the networks and the continued use by older people in their 20s and even 30s.

The sites account for 6.5 percent of all Internet visits in February, the survey showed.

"The growth of MySpace was up 10.2 percent in the same period from January to February but some of the other sites are growing faster than the category as a whole," Prescott added.

Websites with the largest increases in market share of visits were Buzznet which rose 148.4 percent and iMeem, up 145.7 percent.

MySpace was the number one site, followed by Facebook with 10 percent of market share. Bebo,, Xanga, iMeem, Yahoo! 360, Classmates, hi5 and Tagged rounded out the top ten, with each having one percent or less than market share.

"MySpace is vastly larger than any of these other sites except for Facebook," said Prescott.

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