The truth about the Net
From the latest Pew Foundation report:
“A report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project analyzing the responses of more than 64,000 Americans to phone surveys in the past three years shows that 63 percent of U.S. adults now are online and many of them – especially those with several years of online experience – have built Internet use into their lives in practical ways.
Among our findings about change in the Internet world over time:
– Online activity has consistently grown over the course of our research. Internet users discover more things to do online as they gain experience and as new applications become available. This momentum often fuels increasing reliance on the Internet in everyday life and higher expectations about the things people can do online.
– Despite this growth in activity, the growth of the online population itself has slowed. There was almost no growth over the course of 2002 and there has been only a small uptick in recent months to leave the size of the online U.S. adult population at 63 percent of all those 18 and over.
– Different people use the Internet in different ways. The report is full of examples of how people in different demographic groups use the Internet for different purposes.
– Experience and the quality of online connections matter. Those with more experience online and those who have high-speed connections at home generally do more online more often than those with lower levels of experience and those with dial-up connections. The growth of the cohort of veteran users, those with at least three years of online experience, has been striking. Nearly three-quarters of Internet users have at least three years of experience.
– Online Americans’ experience with the commercial side of the Internet has expanded dramatically in spite of the economic slump. Financial and transaction activities such as online banking and online auctions have grown more than any other genre of activity.
– Email continues to be the “killer app” of the Internet. More people use email than do any other activity online. Many report their email use increases their communication with key family and friends and enhances their connection to them.
– Big news stories drive lasting changes in the news-seeking audience online.”