Open Thread: Is Social Networking Killing IM?

Internet usage in Britain has grown by 65 percent over the past three years, according to a new study by the UK Online Measurement Company. But while the proportion of time spent on social networking sites is up to nearly 25 percent from just 7 percent in 2007, IM usage decreased quite markedly over that period of time, dropping to 5 percent from 14 percent.

The study got me thinking about my own IM habits, and upon reflection, I realized that my experience was in line with its findings. A few years ago, I used IM nearly constantly, but nowadays, I mainly use Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with my friends, using IM almost solely for work. And given the number of excellent collaboration tools now available, I don’t even use IM at work as much as I once did.

Interestingly, the study points out that while IM usage has declined, email usage has remained steady, accounting for around 7 percent of online time. Such a finding also corresponds with my own experience (and if you’d like to read more on why email’s sticking around for a while yet, see my post “Email: The Reports of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated” (sub. req.) on GigaOM Pro).

But I’m wondering about the wider WWD readership: Has your IM usage dropped in the past few years, and if so, why?

Photo courtesy Flickr user somegeekintn, licensed under CC-BY-20

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