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Gays use the net more
New survey examines use of social networks, specialty websites and web logs

by Mike Williams
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A recent national survey found that more online LGBT individuals use social networks Friendster and MySpace per week compared to online heterosexuals. Other well-known websites such as YouTube, Craigslist and personal web logs also were found to be more popular in the LGBT community.

These are some of the highlights of a nationwide online survey of 2,541 U.S. adults (ages 18 and over) conducted Nov. 13-20, 2006, by Harris Interactive, a global market research and consulting firm, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm with special expertise in the LGBT market.  

Twenty-seven percent of LGBT individuals reported they visit the popular free video sharing website, YouTube.com, at least one hour or less per week, compared with 22 percent of all heterosexuals. GLB individuals were also slightly more likely to visit Craigslist.com (20 percent), a centralized network of online urban communities, featuring free classified advertisements and forums, one hour or less per week (while 13 percent of heterosexuals say they visit Craigslist).

Even more significant is that gays and lesbians are online much more than their heterosexual counterparts. Excluding email, nearly twice as many gays and lesbians (32 percent) say they are online for between 24 and 168 hours per week, compared to 18 percent of heterosexuals.

“We have consistently benchmarked strong online usage by the gay community,” says Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications. “Gays and lesbians have shown their need to build and maintain an early and major presence on the web that translates directly into significant market opportunities. Social networks also appear to be second nature for the gay and lesbian consumer.” 

Regarding web logs or blog use, the survey found nearly one in four LGBT individuals (24 percent) reported to visit personal blogs, which are websites that serve as an individual’s personal online journal, compared to 12 percent of heterosexuals. In fact, over one in three LGBT adults (36 percent) visit their favorite blogs everyday, while only 19 percent of heterosexuals say they visit their favorite blogs daily. LGBT respondents also reported to have a more positive reaction towards advertising found on blogs, by two to one when compared to heterosexuals (22 percent vs. nine percent).

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to participate in online surveys, register at www.harrisinteractive.com.

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