We seem to be getting bombarded with figures on circulations and readerships at the moment but I thought I would highlight a few interesting trends in the online media world which have made me think.

Apparently, The Guardian has kept the number one online spot in the January ABCEs as it now has almost 18m unique users (jump of 24%). However, the Daily Mail seems to be catching it up with 17.9m. The Times, Telegraph and The Sun all jumped too.

Online media usage is certainly growing in the UK and as the online figures are now finally being included (hallelujah) with normal circulations we are now starting to get a clearer picture of which of the nationals are most influential.

My favourite newspaper is The Times (for business news) but The Guardian online provides an extremely comprehensive set of podcasts, news and blogs – so I can see why it’s holding the number one spot.

I have also seen a vast amount of stories and blog posts on the fact that Facebook’s figures went down in January. It’s unique users dropped 5% to 8.5 million and  MySpace which is the second most popular also dropped 5%, to 5 million and third placed Bebodropped by 2% to just 4 million.

Are these stats really a cause for concern? I have read numerous blogs, online magazines and newspapers all reporting these dreaded stats with some asking if social networking is about to recede.

Huh, I don’t think so, and I have to agree with Mike Butcher from Tech Crunch. In fact, I think I will end with his comments – I hope he doesn’t mind – as he puts it best when he says: “ THAT WAS OVER THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS.

Facebook’s audience is still 712% higher than in January 2007 and 9% bigger than at the end of October. Did you really expect it to maintain that level of growth? Plus I think most are no longer over-dosing on social networking as much as they did last year. The reality has set in and people are weaving it into their daily lives in a more measured way – at least until Facebook can come up with anything new and interesting other than vampires.

I have to agree Mike – I find those Vampire applications pointless too..

About Chris Norton

Chris Norton is the founder of Prohibition and an award winning communications consultant with more than twenty years’ experience. He was a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and has had a varied PR career having worked both in-house and in a number of large consultancies. He is an Integrated PR and social media blogger and writes on a wide variety of blogs across a huge amount of topics from digital marketing, social media marketing right through to technology and crisis management.