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Grow Your Business Social Media

Net Impact: US Becomes a Facebook Nation

Facebook is now being used by a majority (51) percent) of Americans age 12 and over, a new study says. This is up from only 8 percent when Arbitron/Edison Research began measuring the social media phenomenon in 2008.

And we're increasingly shaping our online lives from multi-computer households, according to the latest report from these research companies. A majority of households (51 percent) have two or more computers, up from 24 percent in 2002.

This is good news for small business owners who are rapidly adopting social media marketing as a weapon of choice in the battle against better funded competitors who can afford to reach customers through traditional marketing means. Just this week, Facebook launched a migration tool to make it easier to switch from a Facebook personal page, which many business owners started out with, to a Facebook business Page .

Facebook is not the only way we’re jacked into the ether. The percentage of Americans who have a smartphone has more than doubled in the past year, from 14 percent to 31 percent of the population.

And we’re cutting the cord, too, the report found. Among the 81 percent of U.S. households with Internet access, two-thirds now have a Wi-Fi connection.

We’re also giving our devices a workout. Daily time spent with TV, radio and the Internet combined has increased by 20 percent in the last 10 years, with self-reported daily usage now at 8 hours and 11 minutes compared to 6 hours and 50 minutes in 2001.

Use of online radio in particular is significantly up, with weekly usage of all forms having doubled in the last five years. One in ten Americans reported listening to Pandora Internet Radio in the week before they were surveyed.

And we like to take our ear candy with us. Just under one-third of all Americans (31 percent) have plugged an MP3 player such as an Apple iPod into their car stereo systems and more than one-tenth of all cellphone owners have listened to online radio streamed into their cars by connecting their phones to a car stereo systems.

"When you consider the rapid growth in ownership of smartphones in context with the continued rise in the use of social media it becomes increasingly clear that these platforms are fueling fundamental changes in consumer expectations and how they use media," said Bill Rose, an Arbitron marketing executive.

"What's fascinating about the Internet over the past ten years is the additive effect it has had upon the American media diet, which continues to expand," said Tom Webster, a strategy and marketing executive with Edison Research. "The ubiquity of social media usage — and Facebook in particular  — has had an enormous impact upon the ways in which people communicate with each other, which has profoundly affected not only how companies market themselves, but also how they hire and train internally .”