May 10, 2007

"Connected But Hassled"

Those awesome folks at the Pew Internet & American Life Project have a new report out called A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users, in which they say "half of all American adults are only occasional users of modern information gadgetry, while 8% are avid participants in all that digital life has to offer."

Jon Gordon, of American Public Media's Future Tense, did a show about this on May 7 (Technology: Where do you fit in?). On the web site, he summarizes the report thusly:

"In a new survey, the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that adult Americans are broadly divided into three groups: 31 percent are elite technology users, 20 percent are moderate users and the remainder have little or no usage of the Internet or cell phones."

What I like about this survey, and the summary press release, is the categorization of technology users. I'll list a few, but check out the press release for more details, and check out the pdf full report for even more good stuff. (quotes taken from the press release)

The top two categories are:
* "Omnivores (8%): They have the most information gadgets and services, which they use voraciously to participate in cyberspace, express themselves online, and do a range of Web 2.0 activities. Most in this group are men in their mid- to late twenties.
* "Connectors (7%): Between featured-packed cell phones and frequent online use, they connect to people and manage digital content using [information and communication technologies] ICTs – with high levels of satisfaction about how ICTs let them work with community groups and pursue hobbies."

Among others in the middle range,
* "Connected But Hassled (10%): They have invested in a lot of technology (80% have broadband at home), but they find the connectivity intrusive and information something of a burden."

At the lower end of technology users,
* "Inexperienced Experimenters (8%): They occasionally take advantage of interactivity, but if they had more experience and connectivity, they might do more with ICTs. They are late adopters of the internet. Few have high-speed connections at home.
* "Off the Network (15%): Those with neither cell phones nor internet connectivity tend to be older adults. A few of them have computers or digital cameras, but they are content with old media."

Take the Pew quiz to see whether you’re a Lackluster Veteran or Connected but Hassled. AND, think about where your library patrons fit in to these categories. Are we providing services for folks in all groups? Should we be?

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