Social media isn’t a fad. It’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.

Erik Qualman’s new book “Socialnomics” from Wiley Publishing will be in stores and available online August 26.

  • By 2010, Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers — 96 percent of them have joined a social network.
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The survey of 5,000 U.S. social media users found that Facebook members were the most loyal among regular users of the four major social networking service (SNS) destinations – Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn being the other three – and that they also saw the most value in the hugely popular service.

When users among respective SNS were asked in which network was the most valuable, 75% said Facebook, followed by MySpace (65%), LinkedIn (30%) and Twitter (12%). Flipping the question, only 29% of respondents said they could “probably do without” Facebook, compared to 43% for Twitter and 35% for MySpace; LinkedIn also scored 29% on this query.

Facebook has 78 million regular users, defined as those logging on at least once a month, according to the Anderson Analytics report, followed by MySpace (67 million), Twitter (17 million) and LinkedIn (11 million). MySpace has the youngest user group, with an average age of 29, while LinkedIn’s audience is the oldest, 36 on average, the survey found. The average age of Facebook users was 34; for Twitter, it was 33.

The Anderson Analytics report, found an estimated 110 million people in the U.S., or 36% of the total population, are regular users of social networking sites. Youth is still a major determinant of social networking usage, the report found, with 61% or 67 million regular users, defined as those logging on at least once a month, under age 35.

Social networking site usage has increased over the past six months, according to the report. Users of Facebook (59%), Twitter (59%), and LinkedIn (53%) were much more likely to say their social networking site usage was increasing compared to users of MySpace (40%).