Nearly one-third (32%) of the heaviest adopters of social networks - those ages 18 to 24- connect with sites such as Facebook and Twitter in the bathroom. The new data, from NM Incite, offer a glimpse into the growing devotion that Americans have to social networks.
Time spent on social networks increased 37% over 12 months ago, according to the new report out today.
"Social media is truly everywhere in people's lives," says Deirdre Bannon, vice president of social-media solutions at NM Incite, a joint venture of Nielsen and consulting firm McKinsey & Co. "It is so ingrained and has touched every facet of everything we do all day long. We are literally taking our phones with us to the bathroom and connecting on social media."
Linking up with social networks in the loo transcends ages.
More than one-fourth (28%) of those ages 25-34 are bathroom social networkers, as are 15% of those ages 35-44. Both sexes are equally likely to use social networks in the bathroom, with 14% of them saying they do.
At work, those most likely to use social networks were those ages 25-34, more than half of whom (51%) were connected in the office. "People are connected at work because they are always on," Bannon says. "But part of it is they are tapping into that exponentially broader universe to get information about products, eventsand brands. It has both the social component, as well as the informational aspect."
More people are on the Internet than a year ago - and they are spending more time connecting to social networks. The number of PC-based Internet users dropped slightly, from 213.2 million in 2011 to 204.7 million, or a 4% decline. That was offset by an 85% increase in those connecting to the Internet on mobile apps (101.8 million, up from 55 million) and 82% on mobile Web browsers (95.2 million, up from 52.4 million).
The findings come from Nielsen data gathered from more than 200,000 Internet users during July and roughly parallels online measurement firm ComScore's recent estimate of a U.S. Internet audience of 234.9 million on PCs and mobile devices.
Nearly one-third (30%) of all time spent on mobile devices is spent on social networks, compared with 20% of all time spent on PCs. Personal computers remain at "the center of the social-networking experience and most of the time spent is actually there," Bannon says. However, "People are connecting through more mobile devices ... (and) they are also increasing their engagement with social media regardless of what device they are accessing."
Combining all devices, overall time spent on social networks rose 37% - the average woman spent 18 hours and 20 minutes per month, while men spent about 13 hours. The biggest social networkers? Those ages 18-24 who spend more than 21 hours each month on social networks, followed by the 25-34 age group at more than 20 hours.
Top social-network site Facebook actually saw a slight decrease in users - down 4% to 152.2 million users on PCs - but time spent on the site rose 23%. Overall, Facebook accounts for 17% of all time that Internet users spend online, Bannon says. "The story about Facebook is still a story of just tremendous growth and engagement."
On the rise: Pinterest, the fourth-most-popular social-networking site based on time spent, behind Tumblr and Twitter - and the sixth-most-popular based on users (27.2 million) behind Blogger, Twitter, Wordpress and LinkedIn.
"Pinterest exploded onto the scene in 2012," Bannon says. Meanwhile, Twitter and Tumblr continue to grow "and new social-media channels continue to emerge and catch on."