Page last updated at 14:38 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 15:38 UK

Technology, Twitter and the downturn

When faced with making financial cutbacks only the bare essentials of food and personal hygiene come out ahead of the electronic necessities of life, such as mobiles, broadband and TV.

That at least is the picture painted by Ofcom's latest report into the communications industry. Over 850 people were asked to rank their most favoured options when it comes to financial belt-tightening.

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Social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are still growing, while one of the pioneers in the field, Friends Reunited, whose sale for £25m was announced on Thursday, saw traffic rise by 11% since last year. In contrast, the once-hyped site Second Life saw its traffic decline by 67%.

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Social networking has become more popular with older age groups. Those aged between 25-54 have been accessing sites more over the past 12 months, while the interest of 15-24 year olds has taken a tumble, dropping five percentage points over the same period.

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The statistics on the rise of the micro-blogging site Twitter speak for themselves. Since the start of 2009 its audience has jumped upwards, helped, no doubt, by its users' role in reporting on high-profile news stories like the Hudson River plane crash in January and its use by celebrities.

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The report can be read in full on the Ofcom website.



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