Use the Internet? You're Probably on Facebook

If someone in the US has Internet access, they probably use Facebook. More than half of all web users also have a profile on the social network, a survey says.

About 132.5 million people, or 57 percent of all American Internet users, used the social network monthly in 2010, according to an eMarketer comparison study, far more than the 9 percent reported for the microblogging tool Twitter. The online researcher also noted that Twitter's numbers were less than last year's expectations.

"We looked at the data and methodology from dozens of research firms," Clark Fredricksen, eMarketer strategic communications manager, told Press:Here.  "Our comparison analysis showed a more progressive growth trend for Twitter . . . but we've noticed the growth rate wasn't as strong."

Although the two social networks were compared in the study, it's hardly a comparison in real life. Facebook with its profiles, news updates and gaming is more of a lifestyle site, while Twitter with its quick-fire missives is better for publicity or marketing. Hardly anyone I know can spend hours on Twitter and lose all track of time, so it's easy to see that Twitter wouldn't have the same level of attraction as Facebook.

"In reality, people use Facebook all the time, with more than 500 million users world-wide," Fredricksen said. "Twitter has 170 million accounts, but not users. . . . But they're both social networks and the biggest social networks are Facebook and Twitter, so they're compared a lot on the Internet."

eMarketer projects that by 2013, almost half of everyone in the U.S. will be using Facebook, but also cautioned that post-2010, Facebook's growth will be limited. Why? Because the social network has almost reached its saturation point and growth will be limited to the single digits. 

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