Numbers: Information, From Our 34 GBs/Day to the 8 Trillion Tweets in History

By Jeremy Jacquot|Thursday, May 13, 2010

1.3 Trillion  Leisure time, in hours, that Americans spent consuming information in 2008, according to a December 2009 report from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). That works out to about 12 hours per day per person; the number includes multitasking, so an hour spent watching TV and surfing the Web counts as two hours of info consumption. Daily, we each devote an average of five hours to TV, two to radio, two to the Internet and other computer use, and one to gaming. We give 36 minutes per day to print media and 27 to recorded music.

3.6x1021  Total amount of data, in bytes, consumed in the United States in 2008, according to the UCSD study. That works out to the equivalent of about 100,500 words or 34 gigabytes per day for each of us.

10 Billion  Number of online searches conducted in the U.S. in December 2009, according to ratings by the Nielsen Co.; 67 percent were through Google, 14 percent via Yahoo!, and 10 percent through Microsoft’s search engines. Facebook was the top search term in 2009.

Forty-Five  Percentage of words consumed that come from television. The next-biggest contributors are computers (26 percent), radio (11 percent), print media (9 percent), and phone conversations (5 percent). The UCSD study did not include old-fashioned face-to-face talking. A 2001 study that recorded regularly spaced snippets of subjects’ social interactions over the course of a few days found that participants were speaking or being spoken to in 60 percent of the recorded samples. A 2007 study with 396 participants using a similar recording device found that both women and men speak an average of 16,000 words per day.

72 million  Number of individuals who accessed newspaper Web sites in November 2009, according to the Newspaper Association of America. Those who visited averaged 43 page views for the month, totaling 33 minutes. In 2008 the association reported an average daily readership of 95 million Americans for weekday print newspapers.

110 Billion  Number of text messages sent in the United States in 2008, according to CTIA, a wireless industry association, up from 2 billion in 2003, the first year for which data are available. In 2008 Americans each spent an average of 23 hours texting. According to Twitter tracker Gigatweet, more than 8 trillion tweets have been posted since 2006.

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