Internet Users Experience More Content, Less Talk

Aug 24, 2007 (01:08 PM EDT)

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The lament of the lovelorn, "We never talk anymore," might well be applied to the Internet.

Internet users are communicating less and consuming more content than they were four years ago, according to the Center for Media Research.

The Center for Media Research is a part of MediaPost Communications, which produces online content and is thus not entirely disinterested in such findings.

The Center for Media Research cites a recent a four-year analysis of the Online Publishers Association's Internet Activity Index, which measures how Internet users divide their time among e-commerce, communications, content, and search.

Earlier this month, the OPA reported that as of May 2007, Internet users spent 47% of their time online consuming content, compared with 34% in 2003, which represents a 37% increase over four years.

The organization also found that, during the same period, Internet users spent 33% of their time online communicating, compared with 46% in 2003, which represents a 28% decline over four years.

Search usage is also up. In 2003, search consumed 3% of time online. Today, it's 5%, a 67% increase.

The OPA attributes these changes to a faster Internet, which is encouraging more Internet usage; the popularity of online video; improved search technology, which is helping people find more content; an overall increase in the amount of content online; and increased use of instant messaging, which is more time-efficient than e-mail.

On a related note, a recent study commissioned by IBM shows that people are spending more time using the Internet for personal purposes at home and at work than they do watching television.