- 19 Aug 09, 08:53 GMT
Those of us who contribute to this website are very happy if stuff we write gets posted first thing in the morning. Why? Because that, we believe, is when most people log on for a quick scan of what's new, and if an article pops up then we believe it has a good chance of building an audience as we approach our peak hour, around lunchtime.
But that may not be entirely true, according to an interesting blog post by Arbor Networks, which monitors internet traffic. They've set about comparing usage patterns in the US and Europe. They've found similarities - but also some striking differences.
Just as my colleagues and I surmised, it does look as though we start going to our computers at around seven in the morning - I have to confess to starting even earlier myself. But traffic carries on building through the day, and it appears to peak on both sides of the Atlantic at around dinnertime - 7pm. By the way, the graph below has brought the US and European timelines together, so 7 pm GMT is 7 pm EDT - or New York time.
But here are the two big differences - according to this research at least. The Americans - whisper it not in London or Paris dining-rooms - are more proper and polite about surfing over dinner. There is a noticeable dip in US traffic between 6pm and 8pm, when Americans sit down to eat. Whereas in Europe, surfing doesn't tail off until around 8pm - but it then keeps on falling pretty sharply.
As Arbor points out, it appears that Europeans just don't use the internet much at night. While Americans seem to stay online into the small hours, with traffic still at 90% of its peak levels at midnight, it's down to 60% in Europe by then.
Mind you, as a number of commenters on the blog have pointed out, treating Europe as an amorphous mass may not be very useful. We dine at different times - it's hard to get dinner in Spain before 9pm - and we have differing levels of web access. So I'm not quite sure what the lesson is for those of us writing for the web. With a bit of luck this blog post will be posted around nine in the morning - so here's a question. Are you there? Hello? Don't tell me, you're updating your Twitter status.
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