Social networking, blogs and gaming sites click with Canadians: Survey



    TORONTO, June 11 /CNW/ - The popularity of social networking and blogging
among Canadian Internet users is not limited to teens and young adults, as a
new poll by TNS Canadian Facts suggests that a sizeable number of middle-aged
surfers are frequenting these types of Web sites.
    The poll found that online teens and young adults are the heaviest users
of social networking sites, with 83% of 13-17 year olds and 74% of 18-29 year
olds having visited at least one such site. Not surprisingly, older people are
less likely to have spent any time on sites such as Facebook and MySpace, but
the incidence is still quite high among middle-aged and older online
Canadians. Six in 10 people in their 30s have visited at least one social
networking site and 45% of those in their 40s have done so. Among those
50 years and older, one-third claim to have visited such a site.
    "Considering that sites like Facebook and MySpace did not even exist five
years ago, the fact that over half of online Canadians (53%) claim to have
visited social networking sites is staggering," said Jennifer Bylok, research
director at TNS Canadian Facts and author of the survey.
    "Gone are the days of letter-writing and long phone calls. Today, people
are posting and broadcasting the minutiae of their their daily lives, keeping
friends and colleagues probably more up-to-date than they would like to be."
    The TNS Canadian Facts poll surveyed 1,627 Canadian Internet users
13 years and older about their online behaviours, including social networking,
blogging and gaming. The most important reasons for having profiles on social
networking sites include: staying in touch/communicating with friends,
re-establishing old contacts, and for entertainment purposes.
    But some online Canadians are less open to posting profiles on Facebook,
MySpace and other similar sites. Approximately four in 10 (44%) claim the
reason they do not use social networking sites is because they would rather
keep in touch with friends and loved ones by other technological means. Among
those 50 years and over, two-thirds (67%) mention this as a reason for not
using such "tell-all" sites. Other explanations given by Internet users for
avoiding social networking sites include: not feeling safe using them (18%),
friends do not use them (17%), and the perception that social networking sites
are "stupid" and not worth taking part in (16%).
    Although awareness levels for MySpace are higher (86%) than they are for
Facebook (71%) among those who visit social networking sites, Facebook has
more dedicated users. Four in 10 (42%) who are aware of Facebook have profiles
on the site and visit it regularly. By contrast, just 16% who are aware of
MySpace have profiles on that site and go there frequently.
    While less interactive, blogs also are a key communication tool. Half
(50%) of online Canadians use blogs, with teens and young adults between
18 and 29 the most likely to access them (73% and 64%, respectively). The most
popular types of blogs are focused on entertainment/gossip, technology, and
sites dedicated to specific hobbies. Less popular blogging topics include
politics, fashion, and sports.
    Despite a keenness to visit blogs, very few people surveyed say that they
have their own web log (10%). Not surprisingly, teens are the most likely to
post topics in a blog format (31%). Despite most online Canadians not having
blogs of their own, they are not hesitant to post comments on the blogs of
others: two-thirds claim to have posted a comment, and while this activity
does decline with age, the majority of older online Canadians (50 years and
over) who read blogs also comment on them (55%).
    The poll found that only about one-third (36%) of online Canadians claim
to play online games, with online poker and "live" first-person shooter games
being the most popular. Second Life, a virtual world game that has received
quite a bit of attention by the media, appears to be mostly "hype": only 2% of
online Canadians claim to have created avatars in Second Life and explored the
site's 3-D virtual world.
    "Canadians are increasingly using and depending on the Internet not only
for information, but also for entertainment and keeping in contact with
friends and family. Currently, however, the Internet appears to have its
limits, with respondents far less willing to have a fully virtual life, as
evidenced by the extremely low usage and interest in sites like Second Life.
All this suggests that companies had better be prepared to address the new
expectations from consumers, and grandma should probably get a profile on
Facebook," Bylok observed.
    The nationally representative online survey of 1,627 Canadian Internet
users 13 years and older was conducted between April 30 and May 5, 2007.
Respondents were randomly selected from the TNS Canadian Facts Internet access
panel comprising 110,000 Canadian adults and teens who have agreed to
participate in survey research from time to time.
    TNS Canadian Facts (www.tns-cf.com) is one of Canada's most prestigious
full-service marketing, opinion and social research organizations.

    
    About TNS

    TNS is a market information group:

    -   The world's largest provider of custom research and analysis
    -   A leader in political and social polling
    -   A major supplier of consumer panel, media intelligence and TV and
        radio audience measurement services.
    

    TNS operates across a global network in over 70 countries, allowing us to
provide internationally consistent, up-to-the-minute and high quality
information and analysis.

    www.tns-global.com





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: David W. Stark, Vice President,
Public Affairs, Tel: (416) 924-5751 x238, e-mail: david.stark@tns-global.com;
Jennifer Bylok, Research Director, Tel: (416) 924-5751 x385, e-mail:
jennifer.bylok@tns-global.com

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