Archive for the ‘Social impact’ Category

Last Wednesday I gave a Keynote Address to a meeting of the Sussex Learning Network. There’s a pdf version of my lecture here.


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Latest research report from the Pew Internet Survey.

The internet has become increasingly important to users in their everyday lives. The proportion of Americans online on a typical day grew from 36% of the entire adult population in January 2002 to 44% in December 2005. The number of adults who said they logged on at least once a day from home rose from 27% of American adults in January 2002 to 35% in late 2005.And for many of those users, the internet has become a crucial source of information – surveys by the Pew Internet & American Life Project show that fully 45% of internet users, or about 60 million Americans, say that the internet helped them make big decisions or negotiate their way through major episodes in their lives in the previous two years.

To explore this phenomenon, we fielded the Major Moments Survey in March 2005 that repeated elements of an earlier January 2002 survey. Comparison of the two surveys revealed striking increases in the number of Americans who report that the internet played a crucial or important role in various aspects of their lives. Specifically, we found that over the three-year period, internet use grew by:

  • 54% in the number of adults who said the internet played a major role as they helped another person cope with a major illness.
  • 40% among those who said the internet played a major role as they coped themselves with a major illness.
  • 50% in the number who said the internet played a major role as they pursued more training for their careers.
  • 45% in the number who said the internet played a major role as they made major investment or financial decisions.
  • 43% in the number who said the internet played a major role when they looked for a new place to live.
  • 42% in the number who said the internet played a major role as they decided about a school or a college for themselves or their children.
  • 23% in the number who said the internet played a major role when they bought a car.
  • 14% in the number who said the internet played a major role as they switched jobs.
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    AP reports that a European Union report released yesterday shows wide differences in the level of Internet use among EU nations, with Benelux and Nordic countries leading the way and eastern and southeastern Europe generally lagging behind.

    In the Netherlands, 78 percent of households are connected to the Net, compared to just 16 percent in Lithuania, according to the report from the Eurostat statistics agency, based on data gathered in early 2005.

    The Dutch also lead the way in domestic broadband access, with 54 percent of homes linked up compared to 1 percent in Greece, 4 percent in Cyprus and 5 percent in the Czech Republic.

    In Greece, 73 percent of the population say they have never used the Internet, the survey said, well above the EU average of 43 percent. More than half the citizens of the Czech Republic, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland and Portugal have never logged on to the Net.

    Among students, only 7 percent across the EU have never used the Internet.

    Overall, the survey showed a rise in Internet connections since 2004. Domestic connections in the EU rose from 43 percent to 48 percent. The number of homes connected to broadband rose from 15 percent to 23 percent.

    For EU businesses, Internet access rose from 89 percent to 91 percent, while broadband connections increased from 53 percent to 63 percent.

    At least 90 percent of businesses are linked to the Internet in all nations included in the survey, except Latvia, Hungary, Cyprus, Lithuania and Poland. In Sweden, Denmark and Finland over 80 percent of firms have broadband access, compared with less than 45 percent in Cyprus, Poland and Greece.

    The survey did not include France, which declined to take part.

    Full report here.

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    From the PEW Project…

    “By the end of 2005, 50 million Americans got news online on a typical day, a sizable increase since 2002. Much of that growth has been fueled by the rise in home broadband connections over the last four years. For a group of “high-powered” online users – early adopters of home broadband who are the heaviest internet users – the internet is their primary news source on the average day.”


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    Justin says that the IPA did an interesting “touchstone” survey with fine-grain detail which found that people watch TV for an average of 4.2 hours a day. That’s 29.4 hours a week, which is almost exactly half of the 58 hours I estimate they have available for leisure activities.

    He also intimated that the overall figures (which suggest that viewership is holding up well) may mask important changes in the detail. For example, we have an ageing population with more people in older age groups. Older people in general watch more television. Younger people are watching less.

    We also have to be careful to distinguish between (a) watching broadcast TV live and (b) viewing televisual material in a variety of ways (e.g. time-shifted, IPtv, etc)

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