'People lie, internet stats tell the truth'

Tancer, has noticed some key differences between the United States audience that he knows so well and the UK's internet users.

"There is an optimisation or globalisation of what people search for but there are key differences between cultures," he adds.

"I do see differences and if you look at the stocks and share sites in recent months there was a massive spike that week [of the crash] in September and it's maintained a high level.

"In the UK, however, there was a spike in September but surprisingly a lot of that traffic has calmed down. Is that the hysteria dying down or are people simply not wanting to look at the problems? I can't answer that just yet.

"We certainly see more diversional activity in the States – we found games sites are getting more popular, more movies are being rented and they are visiting celebrity blogs more – it's escapism."

It is clear that the way in which we use the internet offers fascinating glimpses into our changing lives, and Tancer is clearly a man keen to keep tracking those changes - be it predicting the winner of Celebrity Come Dancing or telling us what internet trend is going to hit the mainstream next.

Tancer's book 'CLICK: What we do online and why it matters' is out now in paperback published by Harper Collins.