The social ‘epidemic’ that is signing up to the likes of Facebook and MySpace is most likely to hit young people, analyst firm Point Topic said today.

More than two thirds (70 per cent) of 18 to 24-year-olds with internet access at home said they log on to sites such as MySpace, Bebo or Facebook  regularly, while just 6 per cent of over-65s do the same, Point Topic’s latest Consumer Survey shows.

"Social networking swept through the internet-using population like flu during 2006-2007, but like any epidemic, it shows signs of falling back once all the most vulnerable targets have been infected," Tim Johnson, chief analyst at Point Topic, said.

Wide spread

"Social networking is already the seventh most widespread internet activity, carried on by 35 per cent of all home internet users, but one of the most strongly age-related," Johnson added.

So does Point Topic agree that social networking is on the decline, as we reported earlier this week? Not really – the firm believes any decrease in users is just a pause.

Fading craze

"The first wave of adopters are cooling off a bit as the initial craze starts to fade, but people will keep on using social networking sites even though they spend less time on them," according to Johnson.

Point Topic also predicted that the range of social networking websites will become much more diverse, attracting a wider range of people from different backgrounds and ages.

Point Topic's fifth Consumer Survey polled 3,756 respondents.