The Pew Internet and American Life Project really cranks out the research. The latest one, A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users, is, despite the catchy title, a great read full of valuable insights. For example, based on their survey of 4,000 American adults, we break down as such…
The elite users of information and communications technology (ICT) consist of four groups that have the most information technology, are heavy and frequent users of the internet and cell phones and, to varying degrees, are engaged with user-generated content. Members of these groups have generally high levels of satisfaction about the role of ICTs in their lives, but the groups differ on whether the extra availability is a good thing or not.
The middle-of-the-road users consist of two groups whose outlook toward information technology is task-oriented. They use ICTs for communication more than they use it for self-expression. One group finds this pattern of information technology use satisfying and beneficial, while the other finds it burdensome.
For those with few technology assets (four groups), modern gadgetry is at or near the periphery of their daily lives. Some find it useful, others don’t, and others simply stick to the plain old telephone and television.
Front Porch Forum members, I estimate, are scattered across all of these categories… not just the tech elites. In April 2006 (when the survey was completed), 73% of Americans labeled themselves as internet users (same as cell phones).
Pew reports that 18% of respondents “post comments to an online news group or website,” while 8% have a blog. Looking at the last six months in our flagship Five Sisters Neighborhood Forum, 90% of the neighborhood subscribes and a full 50% of that group posted to their neighborhood forum in the past six months.