New Report Highlights Opportunities For Podcasting, Internet Media

May 7th, 2007 | By | Category: General, Podcasting Research, Podcasting Statistics

A new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project highlights the fact that most Americans are not participating in blogging, podcasting or Internet media sharing sites like YouTube. While 85% of Americans use the Internet or cell phones, only 8% are what the study calls information “omnivores” – people that fully participate “in cyberspace.”

According to the Pew report, fully half of adults have a more distant or non-existent relationship to modern information technology. Some of the reasons for this are:

  • people‚Äôs concerns about information overload;
  • people‚Äôs sense that their gadgets have more capacity than users can master;
  • people‚Äôs sense that things like blogging and creating home-brew videos for YouTube is not for them; and
  • people‚Äôs inability to afford or their unwillingness to buy the gear that would bring them into the digital age.

The report highlights that activities like podcasting and video sharing still pose significant usability barriers for most people, that there’s tremendous opportunity for people that can create better solutions for Internet media and that there’s a huge untapped audience for podcasts and Internet media.

Here’s the details on how Pew categorizes people’s Internet use….

Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users

Four groups of information technology users occupy the elite end of the spectrum. Collectively, 80% of users in these four groups have high-speed internet at home, roughly twice the national average. They are (with each group’s share in the adult population in parentheses):

  • 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 ‚Äì 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‚Äôt see them as tools for additional productivity. They were among the internet‚Äôs 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.

Two groups make up the middle range of technology users:

  • 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.

Some 49% of all Americans have relatively few technology assets, and they make up the final four groups of the typology. Just 14% of members of the first three groups listed below have broadband at home.

  • 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.

The data for the Project’s typology of ICT users was gathered through telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates between February 15 and April 6, 2006, among a sample of 4,001 adults, aged 18 and older. The sample has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

More commentary at TechCrunch, Search Engine Land

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