RealTime IT News

Report: Most Aren't Rushing Into Web 2.0

While most Americans are comfortable using the Internet, far fewer are ready to dive into the latest, more interactive Web services -- sometimes described as Web 2.0  -- such as creating blogs and posting personal videos.

These latest findings are part of a study done by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that surveyed 4,001 adults aged 18 and older in early 2006. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

The survey found that 85 percent of American adults use the Internet or cell phones (and most use both), but the percentage of those who use the more advanced interactive tools for self-expression on the Internet is a measly eight percent.

"Two groups of technology users have a kind of 'tech-gadget' remorse," noted John B. Horrigan, associate director at the Pew Internet Project and author of the report. "They have more than a fair share of digital appliances. But they aren't all that satisfied with the flood of information or pervasive connectivity that comes along with these communication goods and services."

Pew researchers broke the respondents into ten distinct groups, ranging from "Inexperience Experimenters" (eight percent) to "Connected But Hassled" (10 percent) to "Omnivores" (eight percent). Omnivores are probably a tech marketers dream target. They have the most information gadgets and services, voraciously participate in cyberspace and do a range of Web 2.0-related activities. The majority of Omnivores are men in their mid- to late twenties.

In addition to Omnivores, another 23 percent make up the list of what Pew calls the elite end of the spectrum of technology users. "Connectors" (seven percent) are frequently online, have feature-packed cell phones and use Web services to manage digital content.

"Lackluster Veterans" (eight percent), are frequent users of the Internet, but less avid cell phone users. Although they were probably among the earliest users to get online, they don't see much benefit to the latest Web 2.0 services.

Rounding out this group are the "Productivity Enhancers" (eight percent) who have strongly positive views about how technology let's them do their jobs and learn new things.

Only two categories make up the middle of Pew's technology adoption spectrum and it's a smaller overall percentage than the other two main groups. "Mobile Centric" (10 percent) embrace the functionality of their cell phones and are more occasional users of the Internet. About 37 percent of these users have a high speed Internet connection.

Another ten percent make up the "Connected But Hassled" group. Some 80 percent of this group have broadband at home, but they also find the connectivity "intrusive and information something of a burden."

On the less tech enthusiast side of the fence:

The "Inexperienced Experimenters" (eight percent) are one of four categories of users with relatively few technology assets that make up almost half (49 percent) of the total respondents.

Pew identifies 15 percent as "Light But Satisfied." While they use information and communications technology and "like" it, they don't consider it central to their lives. The last two groups, includes the "Indifferents" (11 percent) who may have cell phones or Internet access but use them intermittently and find connectivity "annoying."

The final 15 percent, who Pew said tends to be older adults, are "Off the Network" owning neither cell phone nor Internet connectivity. They may have computers or digital cameras, but are content with old media.

And probably aren't reading this article.