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Social Network Use By Smartphones Jumps

More than 10% of smartphone users connected to a social network in January, up almost 5 percentage points from a year ago.
A rising number of smartphone Web browsers are being used to access social networking sites, an indication of how the online services are extending beyond the PC.

In January, almost one in three smartphone users accessed social networks with their mobile browsers, up more than 8 percentage points from a year ago, Web metrics firm ComScore said Wednesday. The number of cellular phone users in general connecting to Facebook through a mobile browser grew 112% from a year ago, while Twitter experienced a 347% jump.

"Social networking remains one of the most popular and fastest-growing behaviors on both the PC-based Internet and the mobile Web," Mark Donovan, senior VP of mobile at ComScore, said in a statement. "Social media is a natural sweet spot for mobile since mobile devices are at the center of how people communicate with their circle of friends, whether by phone, text, email, or, increasingly, accessing social networking sites via a mobile browser."

ComScore measured smartphone and other mobile phone use only through the use of the devices' browsers. The numbers do not include access by the nearly 6 million phone users who only use mobile applications.

In looking at mobile phone users as a whole, Comscore found that more than one in 10 used the device's browser to connect to a social network, an increase of almost 5 percentage points from a year ago.

More than 25 million Facebook users accessed the site via a mobile browser, which was more than double the number of MySpace users. Facebook's mobile phone audience has exceeded MySpace's since February 2009, three months before Facebook surpassed MySpace as the leading social network on the Web, according to ComScore.

Twitter, which has experienced tremendous growth in both mobile and PC-based visitors, attracted 4.7 million mobile users in January.

The influence of smartphones as an access point to the Web is growing in the United States as more people buy the devices. At the end of 2009, 17% of mobile phone users had smartphones, up from 11% at the end of 2008, according to ComScore.