Chances are that more than half of you have checked Facebook today. Many, before you brushed your teeth or even got out of bed.

The Social Habit is a study recently conducted by Edison Research and Arbitron, and is derived from the latest ‘Edison/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia Research Series’, one of the longest-running studies of consumer adoption of the Internet, new media and other technologies. The study was presented in May of this year (May 25, 2011). Although the research is done on Americans, it’s no doubt very similar in Canada.

Highlights from the study included:

Social Media now reaches the majority of Americans 12+, with 52% having a profile on one or more social networks.

This figure is driven largely by Facebook, which is now used by over half (51%) of Americans 12+.

Twitter is as familiar to Americans as Facebook (with 92% and 93% familiarity, respectively); however, Twitter usage stands at 8% of Americans 12+.

Approximately 46 million Americans 12+ now check their social media sites and services several times every day.

Much of this frequent usage is driven by mobile access. 56% of frequent social network users own smartphones, and 64% of frequent social networkers have used a mobile phone to update their status on one or more social networks.

Location-based sites and services (such as Foursquare and Facebook Places) are familiar to 30% of Americans 12+, and used by 4% of Americans 12+.

One in four social network users knowingly follow brands, products or services on social networks. For those who use these sites and services several times per day, this figure increases to 43%.

Amongst those who do follow brands, products or companies on social networks, 80% indicate that Facebook is the network they use the most to connect with companies.

Nearly a quarter of social network users indicated that Facebook is the social site or service that most influences their buying decisions. No other site or service was named by more than 1% of the sample.

A social media user is most likely to be female, and young.  According to the study, only 32% are 35 years old and older, while only 43% are men.

Only a third of those surveyed knew what location-based services are. Foursquare, GoWalla and Facebook Places might not be very well-known at the moment, but as more and more people are sharing their check ins on their Facebook page and Twitter accounts, expect this number to grow exponentially very soon.

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