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Networking, not buying

Networking, not buying

The economic slowdown finds people seeking friends, rather than goods, online.

Is the internet dead - at least as we know it? London-based social media commentator Nicolas Moerman has discovered in Google trends that there has been a significant slowdown in traffic to a range of once-popular search, blogging and e-commerce websites over the past 18 months.

Web traffic to the sites cooled around September 2008 as the global financial crisis started to hit the real economy. Hits to content-aggregation sites such as Yahoo! and MSN dropped away, and traffic to e-commerce sites like eBay fell along with traffic to blogging sites. Some of the popular news websites also slipped, with activity falling on the BBC.co.uk and NYtimes.com sites, although traffic recovered in the last quarter.

So where is everybody going? And what are we doing with all the free time we have now that we're not forever clicking from one electronic page to the next? Moerman says economic hardship has led people away from news and commerce. He points to dramatically higher traffic on social networking sites as proof we're seeking out friends rather than goods.

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