Pursuant to Nielsen’s State of the Media: The Social Media Report (pdf) for the third quarter of 2011, networks and blogs “rule Americans’ Internet time.

In the U.S., social networks and blogs reach nearly 80 percent of active U.S. Internet users and represent the majority of Americans’ time online, accounting for 23% of their time spent online, compared to 7.6% for email and 2.6% for current events and global news.

Beyond America, across a snapshot of 10 major global markets, social networks and blogs reach over three-quarters of active Internet users.

“As the influence of social media – and those using social media – continues to grow,” per Nielson, “it’s crucial for traditional media, retailers, brands and advertisers to understand how different consumer segments use and share content.” (emphasis added)

Other interesting stats from the report include:

  • If you hold a bachelor’s degree or greater, you are 7% more likely to visit social networks and blogs than if you only have a high school diploma.
  • Americans aged 35-49 are 4 percent more likely than average to visit social networks and blogs than they do any other site and 27 percent of these sites’ audience.
  • 7% more women visit social networks and blogs than men.
  • Men are more likely to use LinkedIn.
  • Facebook reaches 70% of active U.S. Internet users, making it the most website by American.
  • 62% of Facebook page views are by female visitors.
  • 53% of active social networkers follow a brand

If you’re going to be successful bringing in new business as a lawyer, you have to go out and press the flesh. Today the flesh you press and the people you’ll want to meet is moving online – reading and publishing blogs and networking on social networks.

How long can you remain on the sidelines?

Hat tip to Scott Peterson at Relay Station for turning me on this report.