Pew – Internet & American Life

Lee Rainie, Director of Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, gave some facts  to help describe how different our world has become in the last decade.

Big revolutions include:

61% of Americans now have broadband at home.  Broadband at home changed everything – what prople do, how often, etc.

  • 66% of adults who are internet users are content creators; 75% of teens who use the internet are content creators
  • 14% of adult internet users are bloggers (this is everybody of 18+; figure is higher for younger segments of adult population)
  • 15% are content remixers

Big news:

There was an enormous spike in owning tablets/ipads/e-readers over the 2011/2012 holidays.

38% of mobile device owners have downloaded apps to their device – this is a possible “come back” for vetted information, since apps demonstrate that users are interested in connecting to high quality streams.

 Rainie’s characteristics of the New Normal:

  • Broadband
  • Mobile
  • Gender parity
  • Race and ethnicity parity  (social class, but not race, predicts if you are likely to be online)
  • Less economic stratification, gap is shrinking, less of an education gap
  • Less generational variance
  • Email – dominant time spent online for those over 30 years old
  • Watching video (more multimedia)
  • Social networking & content creation

34% of people in the 65-74 age bracket
who are online (use the internet) are using
social media.

For internet using adults of age 18+, the average is 61% using social media.

Rainie offered 8 realities for us to think about.

#1.  Think of people as networked individuals using networked info.  Bigger and looser social networks, more diverse than they used to be in our parents day and age.  Most of us are dealing with more people who are of more varied backgrounds.

#2.  Physics of info is changing.  Volume.  Velocity.  Vibrance.  Valence/Relevance.  Volume of reading is not decreasing — at UCSD awhile ago, research showed that people were reading more since the internet.  Velocity is increasing especially for info we care about, the customized bits that matter to us.  Info that relates to our various selves—Professional, Hobbyist, Spiritual, Family, Culture – is flooding into our lives.  Relevance – search is getting better, people are happy with it.

#3.  People are shifting platforms.  People are blending platforms.  Using both online and offline.  Types of info come from different platforms  (one platform is good for weather, local news might be best on 2-3 platforms, etc).  People are not platform zealots.  Platform preference is highly age dependent.  If people can’t be with the device they love, they love the device they’re with.  People take advantage of whatever tools are in their line of sight throughout the day.  People are participatory – they are less and less passive consumers of information.  People pass stuff along, add meaning, etc. About half of internet users set up a screen that gathers and filters their info sources.

#4.   Influence is migrating from organizations to networks and new “experts.”   People who are outside traditional, established, credentialed systems of expertise are busy, and in some cases they are being embraced by the established systems.  Social networks function for people in new ways.  First, they act as sentries about what is important (as opposed to newspapers, that give you everything.)  Second, as information evaluators.  People ask their networks, what do you think about this?  How correct/important is this?  Third, we use our networks as an audience for our stuff.  We want to make it worthwhile for people to check in with us!  We maintain connection with people, eventually they could be useful for any call to action we might want to issue.

#5.  Attention zones have changed – much more often the case that we exhibit continuous partial attention to multiple streams.  What about deep immersive dives?  It still happens. People use the internet to do deep dives.  It’s not just the case that everyone is chronically ADD and distracted.  Info snacking – given a free moment, people try to make it useful or at least entertaining.  People have become information grazers throughout the day (as opposed to the way it used to be in the broadcast environment,  chunked up at certain times of the day.)

#6.  Knowledge containers and displays are changing in the age of the metaverse.  (Augmented reality.)  Changing people’s sense of what it is to be engaged with any activity, including being engaged with reading as a multi-streamed activity.  (I know what it could be like; it should be more like X.)

#7.  New divides are emerging based on new technology literacies.  Some people can thrive in all this confusion, other people struggle.

#8.  The future is uncertain.  Since the real answer is we don’t know, and there are many companies competing in this space, plan your lives as if the future is uncertain, not as if it is certain.  [I read this same idea in a book called Response Ability…]  The underlying architecture itself may be uncertain – for example, we’re running out of domain names, we didn’t foresee the huge use of the internet for commerce, didn’t expect all the personal content creation, internet crime, etc.  Information policies will chart the terrain.  Social norms and attitudes are being affected.  What is the meaning of a friend.  63% of people using social network sites, have unfriended someone.  We are more savvy now, and some of us are asking people to untag us, take down posts we don’t like.  But we have not yet worked thru the appropriate ways to be a friend, manage info flows about our friends.

Disruptions to the business models include:

–social actors who aren’t looking for money or who don’t like current business models or credentialing systems, but they have stuff they want to do.  (We need to understand the incentives of people who do things for social reasons.)

–new analysts in the world of big data.  Analytics will be key for all actors.

–companies you didn’t used to think are in your business are going to get in your business.

karrie

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