It wasn’t that long ago that the internet served two main functions: email and porn. The times they are a’changing, however, and surfers today tend to spend more time on Facebook and game sites than email. (Porn was not included in the recent survey, probably because no one will answer honestly.) Of course, email is still a key component of the internet, and one of the three major activities for which it is used. It is in decline relative to other uses, though. If at one time it accounted for 28 percent of the time people spent online, this has now dropped to just 8 percent.

Email, together with social networking and games, now account for 40 percent of the time spent online, with Facebook emerging as the biggest social networking site. It accounts for 85 percent of all time spent in the social networking category, while MySpace accounts for just 5.6 percent. No one even bothered to ask about Friendster or Ning, but they can’t be doing that well, considering that the ubiquitous Twitter gets just 1.1 percent, with Blogger getting about the same. (Of course, one can only wonder if Twitter allowed people 300 characters, whether they would double their time …)

Another truly amazing Facebook stat is that social networking now accounts for 23 percent of the time people spend online. If Facebook accounts for 85 percent of that, about 20 percent of all time spent on the Internet is actually spent on Facebook.

Games are the other big time waster on line, with Electronic Arts and Blizzard Entertainment accounting for 17 and 12 percent respectively. The infamous Zynga games Mafia Wars and Farmville each get about 5 percent, largely because they are so intimately tied to Facebook.

The report, issued by Nielsen, will likely be the subject of intense investigation by investors and social scientists alike. What are people looking for online today? What needs does it compensate for in real life? Figure that out and you can make a bundle.
Read More at the Business Journal.