Web 2.0 attracts many, but more gladly do without

By Robert Mullins, IDG News Service |  Software

Almost one in four Americas use advanced mobile technology and visit the Web 2.0 world, but close to half have little use for either, according to a report released Monday.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project report shows 23 percent of adults surveyed are regular users of what the research organization calls information and communication technologies (ICTs). Pew uses the term to describe interactive Web sites and multifaceted cell phones that play videos, take photos and send text messages.

Eight percent are hard-core users, but 49 percent use such technology only occasionally and "many bristle at electronic connectivity," the report stated.

The survey is an attempt to measure the strength of the latest generation of mobile devices and the Web 2.0 world, which often refers to Web sites with content generated by users. They include YouTube.com, where individuals post videos online, and MySpace.com, at which people post their own profiles to link with friends.

The Pew Report divides the public into 10 different categories within three main groups: Elite tech users, 31 percent of respondents; Middle-of-the-Road tech users, 20 percent; and those with few tech assets, 49 percent.

In the Elite group, 8 percent are hard-core users of ICTs, called "Omnivores." Members of this group use their cell phones for taking pictures, listening to songs and watching videos as much as they do for making phone calls. In addition, Omnivores are most likely to have done one or more of the following techie things: post a video online; post comments to a newsgroup; create or work on their own Web site or on others' sites; and maintain a blog. Omnivores are the youngest of all tech users, with an average age of 28. The Pew report shows 70 percent of omnivores are male and 64 percent of them are white.

Of the Middle-of-the-Road group, 10 percent are considered "Mobile Centric," meaning they consider their cell phones a multifaceted tool. They use the Internet, but not as often as the Omnivores. Another 10 percent consider themselves "Connected but Hassled," because they have a cell phone or other ICT device but have trouble using it.

In the third group, 8 percent are "Inexperienced Experimenters" who use some communications technology but would use it more if they took the time to learn it. Eleven percent have Internet or cellular access, but use it only intermittently, while 15 percent think TVs, radios and newspapers are all they need to stay connected. The average age of that final group is 64.

The report can be found here: Pew Internet & American Life Project.

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