Networking and blogging sites account for almost ten percent of time spent on the internet — more than on email.

Time on the sites ranked fourth, after online searching, general interest sites, and software sites, according to a study released by Nielsen Online.

One in every 11 minutes spent online globally is on networking sites. Between December 2007 and December 2008, the time spent on the sites climbed 63 percent to 45 billion minutes.

I don’t find this horribly surprising. I suspect the chief reason social networking is winning out over email is spam-related. Even with good filtering that’s out there like Gmail, there are still a lot of people who have email accounts that let a whole bunch through, and the amount of it now is just staggering.

Social networking is more attractive than email because it’s largely permission-based. If I don’t want you to speak to me or know anything about me, I can shut you out and there’s nothing you can do about it. Messaging is largely controlled in the same way, and in the case of (especially) Facebook, there’s a lot more than just communication I can do within the same web service. I can play a game with one of my friends, I can upload a picture or tag an article… there are a lot of options.

What do you think? Why are people spending more time on social networks than with email? (I sincerely hope it’s not because of SuperPoke.)

DHH from 37signals:

…You have to start getting into the habit of saying no. No to things that just doesn’t fit, no to things that just aren’t the most important right now, and no to many things that simply don’t cut it.

It’s incredibly rare that I’ve actually regretted saying no, but I dread my yes’s to all the time (sic).

From time to time, even when a customer requests something, the proper answer is exactly that—to say “no.” Sometimes it’s just not part of the scope of a project, especially a project you want to remain simple and uncluttered. Sometimes, it’s a change that could work, but it’s just not the best decision. Sometimes, it’s a good thing for a few people, but not the right thing for the larger share of your customers. Listening to customers and talking to them is important, but they’re not infallible. Occasionally, part of the conversation has to be a rejection.

When making those connections, even more powerful and honest than just saying “no” is telling someone why you are saying “no”. Give them a reason. Be honest. Sometimes, they’ll try to argue with you or turn it into a debate, but that’s OK. It means they’re invested with you and with your company.

Above all, don’t promise people “we’re working on it” or “we’re thinking about it” when what you really need to say is “no”.