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Canadians Are Connected but Not Happy With Their Fragmented Online World

MSN Canada / Harris/Decima survey reveals that Canadians(i) need to better manage their online identities

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 03/11/09 -- Nine out of 10 Canadians(i) have more than one online account/profile to manage, while one in five claims to have 10 or more according to an MSN Canada, a division of Microsoft Canada Co. and Harris/Decima survey released today. With all these accounts to manage, it's not surprising that Canadians are not happy with the amount of time it takes to manage their social networking/online activities. In fact, more than half (53%) of those surveyed find it time consuming to log into all their online profiles and would love to have all their contact lists in one place.

Eight out of 10 Canadians spend at least an hour on the Internet for personal reasons in an average day and of those nearly half (45%) are spending three or more hours online. Additionally, two thirds of Canadians check their email account frequently throughout the day while almost all (95%) Canadians check their email at least once a day. The survey also revealed that just over a third of Canadians check their instant messaging accounts frequently throughout the day and 30 per cent check their social networking profiles frequently throughout the day.

With various email accounts and social networking profiles scattered across the online landscape, how do Canadians manage it all? According to online research expert for Microsoft Canada Andrew Assad, Canadians are not doing a great job.

"The stats prove that Canadians love logging in to the abyss of the online world, but they spend a lot of time juggling their online profiles," says Assad. "Results show that Canadians have an average of seven online accounts but most aren't managing these effectively and are putting themselves at risk. They need to do a better job at protecting their online identities."

Assad explains how the survey proves this and tells us what Canadians can do to manage their online activities and how to help protect themselves online:

- Considering that over half of Canadians with four or more online accounts spend most of their time managing only one of them, it's clear that countless accounts are forgotten or neglected. If you're not signing in to your online communities, you are not in control of the conversations people might be having about you.

- Not putting yourself online can be just as bad as neglecting your online profiles. More than half (56%) of Canadians agreed that they avoid joining social networking sites because they prefer to keep their private life private. Like it or not, if you're not online, you're not taking advantage of the great opportunity to highlight your best assets and even worse, you're risking the possibility that someone else may post unfavourable pictures or information about you without you knowing. Ignorance isn't bliss so don't avoid your cyber self, embrace it!

- Canadians who said they use the Internet mostly as a social tool are significantly more likely than any other group to define themselves as chameleons when social networking (27%). They will change their style depending on who they're talking to, and their profiles vary for different audiences. Every day we see examples in the media of how the lines between our personal and professional worlds blur on the Internet. This can become hard to manage as social networking gains in popularity. Define yourself online with one consistent personal brand.

- Currently only 18 per cent of Canadians have used an online "aggregator" like Windows Live(TM). The next generation of Windows Live allows you to check your favourite social networking communities like Twitter and soon, Facebook though a new profile and What's New feed, making it easier than ever to manage all your accounts in one spot.

As Canadians continue to spend more and more time online, services such as Windows Live offer an integrated set of online services that make it easier and more fun for consumers to communicate and share with the people they care about most. The new generation of Windows Live includes updated experiences for instant messaging, photo sharing, e-mail, as well as integration with multiple third-party sites such as Twitter and Facebook. New services also include Windows Live Essentials, free downloadable software that enhances consumers' experience of Windows by helping them simplify and enjoy digital content scattered across their PC, phone and on Web sites.

"This survey shows us that Canadians have embraced social networking; however they are at the point now where they need tools to better manage their online lives," says Sumeet Khanna, Director of Windows Live, Microsoft Canada. "The most recent updates to Windows Live make it easier for Canadians to get organized online."

Canadians can visit http://download.live.com to sign up for a free Windows Live ID or for more updates and information on Windows Live services.

(i) The online poll of 1,019 Canadians who have access to the Internet was conducted in February and March 2009 using a random sample of Harris/Decima panel members. In a fashion similar to a telephone study, email addresses from the panel were pulled at random, according to population specifications, in order to make the study representative of the Canadian population by region. Subsequent to completion of the study, the data was weighted for region and age.

About Windows Live

Windows Live, a new set of personal Internet services and software, is designed to bring together in one place all the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with enhanced safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web. With localized versions of most services available globally in 54 countries and 48 languages, Windows Live encompasses more than 20 services, including Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Family Safety. Windows Live is available at http://www.windowslive.com.

Andrew Assad will be available to discuss the survey results.

To schedule an interview or for further information,
please contact:
High Road Communications
Meghan Neufeld
(416) 644-2278
Email: mneufeld@highroad.com

High Road Communications
Jessica Myers
(416) 644-2263
Email: jmyers@highroad.com

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