Americans becoming YouTube addicts

More and more Americans are catching on to the delights of babies doing cute things – or maybe just Justin Bieber – the latest study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project shows.

It says 71 percent of online Americans now use video-sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo – indeed, on any given day, 28 percent make at least one visit.

It’s a noticeable increase from last year, when just two thirds used the sites at all, and 23 percent did every day.

“The rise of broadband and better mobile networks and devices has meant that video has become an increasingly popular part of users’ online experiences,” says report author Kathleen Moore.

“People use these sites for every imaginable reason – to laugh and learn, to watch the best and worst of popular culture and to check out news. And video-sharing sites are very social spaces as people vote on, comment on, and share these videos with others.”

Rural users have now caught up with urban ones in their YouTube habits. And African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than internet-using whites to visit video-sharing sites.

According to YouTube, some 48 hours of video are posted every minute, and the site now receives more than three billion hits a day.

“Many other online activities have not shown much growth in recent years in the number of people who pursue them. But the growth of video-sharing sites stands out against that trend,” says Moore.

“More and more people see these sites as places to get a little dose of amusement or diversion and every once in a while to find something very moving.”