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article imageStudy: Despite rise in social media, content shared mostly by email

By Chris Hogg     Nov 16, 2009 in Internet
Despite the rise in social media and all the buzz around Twitter, a new study from SocialTwist shows email is still king when it comes to sharing content online.
A new study released by SocialTwist, the company that makes the content-sharing widget Tell-A-Friend, has revealed habits behind how people share content online. SocialTwist's "Social Media Sharing Trends 2009 Report" is based on the behavioral analysis of 10 million referral messages sent using Tell-a-Friend.
Among the study's major findings: Top channels of sharing include email, instant messenger (IM) and social networking sites.
SocialTwist says despite all the buzz around "social media," nearly 60 percent of overall sharing happens by email, followed by IM (25 percent) and then social networks (14 percent).
Among social media trends, SocialTwist says Twitter is not regarded as a sharing platform, and instead perceived as a news broadcast platform. A mere 5 percent of shared information flows through Twitter.
In an interview with, SocialTwist president Vijay Pullur said, “Twitter is so popular and has been growing like crazy. But if you look at the data, the usage is extremely low. It has been picking up a little bit lately, but not much. What appears to me is that the world of Internet users is a lot bigger than the tech savvy world you and I live in.”
The study also reports bookmarking sites are losing their foothold on the Web, as more people opt for sharing within their own social networks like Facebook. In the bookmarking space, Digg is the most popular at 44 percent market share, followed by Google Bookmarks (12 percent) and Delicious (11 percent). That said, SocialTwist says only 2 percent of sharing happens on bookmarking sites today.
Facebook is more popular than MySpace when it comes to sharing content online, and LinkedIn ranks the lowest when it comes to social media sharing.
The data also shows Yahoo is the most used email service (44 percent), followed by MSN Mail (25 percent). "Gmail is way behind," the study reports, at 19 percent.
Yahoo and Microsoft also own the biggest piece of the IM pie, with 49 percent of people using Yahoo Messenger, followed by 34 percent who use MSN Messenger, followed by GTalk at 15 percent.
And finally, in the world of blogging Wordpress is king, with 45 percent of people using it, followed by 42 percent who use Blogger. Other sites such as Live Journal, Xanga, TypePad and Movable Type make up the balance of the blog platform pie.
More about Study, Social media, Sharing, Email, Socialtwist
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