At Wikia, we spend a good portion of our time on the Internet. So we thought it would be fun to take a look at how other people use the web and how it’s been growing over the past year — spotting a few trends along the way.

Trend #1: Going Global, Going Big

Of the 6.8 billion people now living on Earth, nearly 29% have Internet access, InformationWeek reported this week, citing a study of web use in 2010. That’s a 14% increase in Internet use worldwide, as the number of websites grew by 21.4 million to reach 255 million total — that’s almost one website for every person in America!

More fun stats from the study:

  • Nearly two billion people use email (1.88 billion), and they send about 300 million emails a day. But — you guessed it — the vast majority (9 out of 10) are spam.
Internet users divide by region 2010
  • Each minute, we share a total 35 hours of video via YouTube, and 84% of U.S. web users view videos online, watching an average of 186 online videos each month — or about 6 per day. About 1 in 7 people have uploaded videos.
  • According to Flickr, its users are uploading more than 3,000 pictures per minute, or 130 million per month. Add in Facebook, which is getting 3 billion photos a month, and you've got a lot of pictures floating around the web.
  • Facebook was the clear dominator when it came to social media, with 600 million people sharing 30 billion pieces of content such as links, photos, and notes each month. But did you know? Some 70% of Facebook users are outside of the United States!

Crazy stats, huh? Now what do YOU think?

Trend #2: Sharing, Not Creating

Web users are focusing more on sharing other people’s content and commenting or responding to live events instead of creating their own, according to a study that came out this week.

The researchers tracked consumer adoption and attitudes from 51,000 people in 18 countries towards Internet platforms like apps, mobile platforms, consoles, tablets and TV services — and found that people are becoming more and more about distribution, not creation. Do you agree?

Trend #3: Faster, Smarter, Happier People — because of technology?

We’ve heard the horror stories about cyberbullying (which is no joke) and the health implications of sitting in front of a computer for too long, but a few studies came out this year that showed Internet use could have some serious personal benefits. First, looking at data from 35,000 people across the globe, including social and economic factors that determine happiness — gender, age, income, education — a report published in TIME Magazine concluded that Internet use empowers people by increasing their feelings of security, personal freedom, and influence.

What's your opinion? Does the Internet make you happy?

Earlier this year, it was found that gamers who play fast-paced action video games like Call of Duty and Unreal Tournament make decisions 25% faster than normal — and are no less accurate than their counterparts who play strategy games like The Sims. It's long been proven that video games sharpen reflexes and motor skills, but this is the first time someone has said it effects our cognitive abilities as well. So to all you action gamers out there, congrats!

We plan to keep you posted on other trends and interesting tidbits we run into. And if you hear of anything interesting, please let us know!

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