The average Australian now spends an hour-and-a-half of their leisure time online each day, according to a recent global digital study conducted by market information group TNS.
The Digital World, Digital Life study, which investigated online behaviour, found that Australians spend one-third of their leisure time online. A total of 27,522 people aged 18 to 55 years were interviewed online in 16 countries for the study at the end of 2008.
Director of technology research at TNS Sydney, Marcus Pritchard, says: “The figures from our study show how far the internet has progressed in becoming part of our daily lives. We’re finding Australians becoming more and more engaged in social networking, online communities and virtual worlds.”
Globally, the amount of leisure time spent online overall was similar, but several Asian nations, such as China (44% of their leisure time on the internet), Korea (40%) and Japan (38%), are leading the way in terms of spare time spent online.
In the UK, people are spending 28% of their leisure time online, and in the US people are spending 30% of their spare time in online pursuits.
In Australia, one in two Australians use social networking sites, such as Facebook or MySpace. On average Australians were members of 2.7 different sites, with the global average membership at 2.5 different sites. Korea leads the way at 4.6.
“Apart from social networking sites, however, we’re not active contributors to the internet. We’re more feeders from it.
“Content general is not the key activity here,” says Pritchard. “We’re information downloaders – we’ll take what’s there but not always provide content.”
While awareness of web 2.0 in Australia is high, contribution to these mediums is low, particularly when compared to other countries. While 93% are aware of blogs, only 40% have accessed them and only 13% have contributed. Likewise, many (83%) are aware of virtual worlds, but only 26% have viewed or contributed to these sites, such as SecondLife. Awareness of wikis is lower at 71%, with only 6% having contributed.