I spend infinitely more time on social networks in 2009 than I did in 2008, as did most people, according to Nielsen. Globally, time spent on social networks increased an average of 2.5 hours per month between December 2008 and December 2009, a growth of 82 percent year-over-year, the research firm announced last Friday. In December of 2008, people spent an average of just under 3 hours and 4 minutes per month on social networks; in December 2009, the total time jumped to 5 hours and 35 minutes per month. Obviously, Facebook accounts for most of this time, but it’s amazing to see that the amount of time spent on social networks since the days of static MySpace pages. Sixty-seven percent of global internet users visited Facebook last year, and those who use the site end up spending more than six hours per month on it.

In the U.S, time spent on social networking sites and blogs increased 210 percent year-over-year. The time spent on Facebook increased 368 percent and Twitter increased 200 percent. The average time Americans spent on social networks last year is higher than the global average. Americans spent 6:09:13 hours on social networks in 2009.

Despite the slowdown in the amount of press Twitter growth receives, it is still the fastest growing of the five most popular social networks. In 2009, Twitter grew 579 percent year-over-year in 2009, growing from 2.7 million unique visitors in December 2008 to 18.1 million in December 2009.

Following social networks in time spent are online games and instant messaging.

By Mark Alvarez