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Are you an elite web 2.0-user? May 8, 2007

Posted by John in Technology.
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Are you an elite, middle of the road or a limited user of web 2.0 technology? The Pew Internet and American Life Project has just released a new survey on how 4001 American adults and use information and communication technology. Read it here.

It created a big buzz among bloggers on Tuesday.

At SearchEngineLand Greg Sterling sums up the report: Pew developed an elaborate classification scheme based on ten types that fit into three broad categories: elite users (31 percent), middle of the road users (20 percent) and those with few “tech assets” and limited use of technology (a whopping 49 percent), he writes.

Also – among the 31 percent elite users 8 percent are seen as “deep users of the participatory web and mobile applications”, according to Pew. Many comments were focused on the 8 versus 49 percent: At Webpronews David A Utter notes “while 8 percent of Americans have embraced advanced information and communication technology (ICT), 49 percent have little to no interest in it”.

The survey is interesting both from a sociological point of view and for the creators of tomorrows media-landscape. Analyzing the figures, there are things to learn for people developing new platforms, media tools and products for web 2.0. Between the lines it raises the question at what pace Americans adopt to new technology.

Mathew Ingram, technology writer at The Globe and Mail, notes at his blog how many reactions to the study are pessimistic: Some speculate that web 2.0’s upside “is capped”, or point out that “nearly half say no” to web 2.0, or gloat that geeks are in the minority, he writes.
Instead Ingram looks at it from the sunny side: “When asked about things that include blogging, posting comments to a blog, uploading photos or video, creating web-pages or mixing and mashing content from other sites, 37 per cent of those surveyed said they had done at least one of those things. What’s not to like about a number like that,” he asks.

At MarketingPilgrim Jordan McCollum first breaks down the study in a comprehensive way, then asks about the moral of the story. “If your target audience (or your client’s target audience) falls into one of the more highly connected categories, Internet marketing is an important part of their campaign that shouldn’t be overlooked,” she answers.

Thats true. And sooner or later everyone will fall into that category. The question is how to best navigate until that happens.

By John Furrier and Tina Magnergard Bjers

PS. As always with surveys it is a good idea to look into how they were conducted – to decide on if you think the findings are relevant. Donna Bogatin at Digital Markets has an interesting piece on this.

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