Interesting report from Experian’s Hitwise, which notes that in January 2011 combined social networking traffic became the most popular online destination in the United Kingdom, moving above visits to entertainment websites for the first time.

During January 2011 social networks accounted for 12.4% of all UK Internet visits. Across the 9,000 social networks that we monitor, there were over 2.4 billion visits from UK Internet users during the month – more than in any other month on record.

The range and diversity of social networks is also on the up. Facebook may be the dominant social network in the UK, accounting for 56% of traffic to the industry during January, but social media users are rarely tied exclusively to just one social network. Indeed, the interaction between different social sites is significant, as users dart between multiple networks in order to chat to their various groups of friends and associates.

Obviously social networks compete amongst themselves for users, but many of those users have a presence on multiple networks. One in every eight people leaving a social network visits another one immediately after, something that is encouraged by the connections that exist between the networks. Facebook, for example, is a key source of traffic for many smaller social networks; while almost a fifth of people leaving Twitter go on to visit another social network.

Whether this trend continues remains to be seen, but it’s an noteworthy precedent. Download the full copy of Hitwise’s report here.

(Source: Hitwise UK.)