According to research just released by Nielsen social media usage has gone up by 43% in the US over the last year, meaning Americans now spend nearly a quarter of their time online on social networking sites and blogs.

The graphic below shows how the typical US internet user's online hour breaks down:

The typical US internet user’s online hour

Other highlights of the research include:

  • Online games overtook personal email to become the second most heavily used activity behind social networks – accounting for 10 percent of all U.S. Internet time. Email dropped from 11.5 percent of time to 8.3 percent.
  • Of the most heavily-used sectors, videos/movies was the only other to experience a significant growth in share of US activity online. Its share of activity grew relatively by 12 percent from 3.5 to 3.9 percent. June 2010 was a major milestone for US online video as the number of videos streamed passed the 10 billion mark. The average American consumer streaming online video spent 3 hours 15 minutes doing so during the month.

What's interesting about these stats is how precisely the amount of an hour's time online a US user spends in social media matches that of UK users (both 13m 36s - see the Nielsen UK data from May), although US users spend almost 50% more time playing online games.