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Despite an initial hypothesis that increased time on social networks might be taking Americans away from their email,? a Nielsen Company analysis found that the heaviest social media users actually use email more, perhaps because of the steady stream of messages that social networks dump into participants’ inboxes.

For the informal research, Nielsen broke the US internet population into four groups, three that were based on increasing? levels of social media consumption and the fourth comprised of non-users of social media.

Nielsen then examined the amount of time that each group spent on email in the year before the study, and? subtracted the email consumption of those who do not use social media from those who do in order to account for? possible external forces.

The April 2009 study found that social media use appears to makes people consume email more, not less,? particularly for the heaviest social media users.? However, among those who use the least amount of social media, the opposite is true:

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Jon Gibs, VP of media analytics for Nielsen, said that these findings intuitively make sense because social media sites such as Facebook send numerous and periodic status-update and notification messages to social media users’ email addresses.

Gibs also noted that “it’s perfectly logical that as people make connections though social media, they maintain those connections outside of the specific platform and may extend those connections to email, a phone conversation or even in-person meetings.”

In the future, Gibs said Nielsen plans to examine whether or not this relationship holds up across specific demographics and behavioral groups? – rather than by levels of consumption.

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