The end of porn as we know it

28 Oct 2009

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It seems the rise of social-networking sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are leaving surfers too distracted to even look up porn, with experts arguing the rise of social networking is killing the online porn business.

Just like VHS, you could argue the e-commerce business was built on the back of the porn industry, as for a long time it was the only thing sold on the internet before other products and services became popular.

The organiser of the Dublin Web Summit which takes place this week Paddy Cosgrve pointed to research by Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise and columnist for Time magazine, which has found that for the first in the internet’s history, pornography has been surpassed as the single biggest online activity.

Social networking at the forefront

Social networking has taken centre stage, said Tancer. The study also found that 80pc of companies in the US use LinkedIn as a primary tool to find employees.

“As social-networking traffic has increased, visits to porn sites have decreased,” Tancer said, pointing to his research which suggests that the 18-24-year-old age group are searching less for porn.

“My theory is that young users spend so much time on social networks that they don’t have time to look at adult sites,” Tancer said.

Business online

Cosgrave, conference organiser, warns companies of the need to demystify the process of doing business online.

“Businesses are currently seeing their profits decline, a new world of marketing and business is emerging and unless they engage in this online world they will suffer further.

“Irish business must realise the opportunities available to grow their brand, sell, recruit at a much cheaper and faster rate than ever before. We have over 75 companies and 25 charities and NGOs booked in so far. This is the first time we have had such an expert speaker line-up on social media in Ireland,” said Cosgrave.

Speaker line-up

Twenty speakers will take the stage at Bewley’s, Ballsbridge, on Friday, including the managing director of Profero, the world’s leading independent digital agency; Jimmy Leech, head of digital to former British prime minister Tony Blair and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown; and Stephen Clark, head of web for the European Parliament.

Many of the experts speaking in Dublin from Wired Magazine, Google and Facebook are expected to focus on how social media, including Twitter and Facebook, are impacting businesses across Ireland and on how exactly Irish businesses can make the most of these sweeping changes.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan will welcome attendees from across Europe when he opens the summit on Friday.

Delegates attending the conference include Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s communications adviser, Annamaria De Caroli, and Tanya Joseph, MD at Grayling, the third-largest independent communications consultancy in the world, the webmaster for the government press office in Luxembourg, and communications advisers from government offices in Sweden and Slovenia.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Web surfers are too busy with social-networking sites like Twitter look up porn, one study suggests.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com