networkingFor the last six or so months I’ve been running on the assumption that social networks were replacing email.

Like most every opinion I have, this belief turned out to be completely unfounded and untrue.

Researchers at Nielsen believed the same thing and created a study to test this hypothesis. And their early findings show that the opposite is true:the more people use social media, the more time they spend on email, too.

The email use of high and medium social media consumers has jumped between April 2008 and 2009. In fact, the email use of high social media consumers has more than doubled in that time, increasing more than 100 minutes a month to just under 190 minutes in April 2009.

Medium social media consumer email use (I just broke my brain trying to figure out how to hyphenate that, so use your imagination) increased five-fold in the past year, growing from 20 minutes per month to 100.

On the flip side, low social media consumers have shaved a few minutes off their monthly email time.

Nielsen also furthered the quest to find the Platonic social network user earlier this week when they found that the average consumer was more affluent and urban than non-users.

The report also reinforced what Dana Boyd has been saying about class and technology, and the economic differences between mySpace and Facebook users for awhile now. Which makes sense, as one of Facebook’s primary functions as a medium is for people to post about their travels and social engagements.

As well as how tired and hungry they are.

According to an analysis of over 400,000 messages on microblogging site and former Twitter competitor Jaiku, the five most frequent postings were “working,” “home,” “work,” “lunch,” and “sleeping.”

So there you have it: the latest clarifications as we chisel further towards the prized ‘average social media user.’