image Nielsen today published “Global Faces and Networked Places – Social Networking’s New Global Footprint” and being a guy who likes to not only watch trends, but LOVEs to see stats that support them, this was a real treat in to come up in my Google Reader.  They allow a download of the report too – click here.

What’s Happening? According to Nielsen, 2/3rd of the planet visits social networking sites now and they spend more time now than ever before – it used to be one minute in fifteen, not it’s every minute in 11 – that’s a 2% increase and a 27% jump. 

Who’s Driving the Stats?  They also present more stats that suggest the social networks continue to gray a bit, with older demographics continuing to jump on board – this is pretty much the same trend I suggested in my post ‘The Graying of Social Networks‘  looking at the data from the Pew Internet and American Life Project Study.

How Are They Doing it?  Mobile-devices.  Access of social networks via mobile devices is busting at the seams; in the US 19.2% of the audience was using mobile devices to access their social networks.  By the end of 2008, 3 million of us were updating Facebook via SMS text messages – and the UK was ahead of the US with almost 23% of the audience using mobile access.

Why it’s Relevant.  What I see in these stats is an discovering of the power of connecting people without the filters of mainstream media interfering.  The movement to the Citizen Journalist is one that is still expanding and, even though I am one of it’s Evangelists, I’m not always sure we do it understanding the real power of how to use the technology best.  I am convinced that we’ll figure it out however. 

The move to social media as a venue for a better picture of what’s actually happening in our world is here to stay I suspect.  The feeling of empowerment that comes from being connected to news, newsmakers and the great thinkers of our day directly is just too much of a draw to the individual and the media, with it’s deadlines and burgeoning infrastructure is not well suited to the change being demanded by social media yet.

Will the social media industry undergo peaks and valleys? – I think so and like those other mainstay industries, we’ll rise from the valleys and fall from the peaks, but we’ll do it fully connected to one another and the wisdom that can come from crowdsourcing will prevail.