Rest of world leaving U.S. in social networking dust

China, Brazil among those blogging their way to digital dominance

Think you and your friends are well connected digitally?

If you're in the United States, you just might want to think again.

About 88% of online users in China and 51% in Brazil have written their own blog or forum posting, according to the Digital Life report released today by TNS, a London-based market research firm.

"The Internet is a huge part of life in the 21st century but how it affects our lives varies depending upon where in the world you live," wrote Matthew Froggatt, chief development officer at TNS, in the report. "In rapid growth markets that have seen recent, sustained investment in infrastructure, users are embracing these new channels in much more active ways. The digital world is transforming how they live, develop and interact, and online consumers in these markets are leaving those in the developed world behind in terms of being active online and engaging in new forms of communications."

The TNS report also noted that mobile devices are fueling recent growth in social networking.

Mobile users, according to the Digital Life, spend an average of 3.1 hours per week on social networking sites, compared to just 2.2 hours on e-mail. The move to mobile is driven by the increased need for instant gratification and the ability of social networks to offer multiple messaging formats, including the instant message or update function, the report noted.

And people expect to be more social on their mobile devices in the future. Actually, those surveyed expect to be more social on the go than on their stationary PCs.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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