The Pew Internet & American Life Project has the findings of a new survey of 4,001 U.S. adults on usage of and attitudes toward the Internet and mobile phones. Provocative but long, a summary is available (pdf). From the survey findings, Pew developed an elaborate classification scheme based on ten types in three broad categories:
- Elite users (31%)
- Middle-of-the-road users (20%)
- Limited “tech assets” with limited use of technology (a huge 49%)
Following are Pew’s descriptions of the various sub-segments:
- 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 ICTs (information and
communications technology) – with high levels of satisfaction about how ICTs let them work with community groups and pursue hobbies.
- Lackluster Veterans (8%): They are frequent users of the internet and less avid about cell phones. They are not thrilled with ICT-enabled connectivity and don’t see them as tools for additional productivity. They were among the internet’s early adopters.
- Productivity Enhancers (8%): They have strongly positive views about how technology lets them keep up with others, do their jobs, and learn new things. They are frequent and happy ICT users whose main focus is personal and professional communication.
- Mobile Centrics (10%): They fully embrace the functionality of their cell phones. They use the internet, but not often, and like how ICTs connect them to others. 37% have high-speed internet connections at home. The group contains a large share of African Americans.
- 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.
Low Tech and Non 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.
- Light but Satisfied (15%): They have some technology, but it does not play a central role in their daily lives. They are satisfied with what ICTs do for them. They like how information technology makes them more available to others and helps them learn new things.
- Indifferents (11%): Despite having either cell phones or online access, these users use ICTs only intermittently and find connectivity annoying. Few would miss a beat if they had to give these things up.
- 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.
There’s a heap of useful information in the report. The site Search Engine Land had this to say:
While one could expect the distribution of users in each segment to be different in, say, five years and maybe completely different in 10 years, this report reveals that breezy attitudes about users and their behavior should be discarded in favor of more nuanced views about an evolving and increasingly complex media marketplace.