Social networking is no longer a passing trend as we entered the fully-fledged social media age this year, according to the Nielsen and NM Incite’s 2012 Social Media Report.
The core finding of the report is that American consumers continue to spend more time on social networks than on any other category of sites.
But what might be more notable is what devices they are using to access the Internet, and by extension, social networks. Nielsen found that most consumers spent 30 percent of total time online via mobile mobile devices this past year -- compared to approximately 20 percent via PCs.
Thus, while social media is no longer in its "infancy," according to the study, it is arguable that these upticks can only continue hand-in-hand with the growth of mobile technologies and usage too.
The recent proliferation of mobile devices and connectivity helped fuel the continued growth of social media. While the computer remains as the predominant device for social media access, consumers’ time spent with social media on mobile apps and the mobile web has increased 63 percent in 2012, compared to the same period last year.
As for what these consumers are looking at the most, Facebook remained the most-visited social network in the United States.
Most U.S. members of the world's largest social network continued to access the site via PC (152.2 million visitors), but mobile made a big difference this year as 78.4 million members used native Facebook apps and 74.3 million people visited via mobile browsers.
But Pinterest was the breakout star of 2012 as researchers found that the content sharing service produced the largest year-over-year increase in both unique audience and time spent of any social network across PC, mobile web and apps.
UPDATE: In regards to methodology, Nielsen clarified that the report comes from multiple sources of Nielsen and NM Incite's measurement of online activity, and time periods covered in the report vary source to source. Most of the time spent stats come from monthly measurements of 200,000 online participants in the United States.