Internet Pew Research

Mr. Rainiey said that Pew was not this.

Yesterday, I attended a Metro presentation on Washington, DC based “fact-tank,” Internet Pew Research. Here are some of my notes of the presentation:

Pew Internet Research is a non-profit “fact-tank” that observes the usage of Internet and digital technologies across America. Their measuring instrument consists of telephone surveys. All of their reports on their site are free.

Rainie began his presentation with the move from a “village” society to a “networked” one. A networked society is more socially maneuverable, that is, you can have several social circles that don’t necessarily interact with one another (your personal circle of friends vs. your work circle for instance). The drawback from a village society to a networked one, is that it requires more work to participate in a networked society.

He also mentioned the idea of a future learning space. These include distributed, cloud-based resources that may not necessarily have a physical counterpart.

Rainie presented 3 digital “revolutions” during the twelve-year life span of Pew:

– Internet Broadband has exploded from 4% access among Americans in 2000 to 74% in 2010.

– Total number of mobile device subscriptions has surpassed the total population of the US, with 88% of adults owning a cell phone, 50% of adults utilize mobile apps.

– 50% of adults utilize social networking

Other stats:

Internet Usage

2/3 of adults are content creators, as are ¾ of teens aged 12-17.

Bloggers and Twitter users are “influencers” trend setters.

The #1 factor of non-internet users is age, with adults aged 65+ least likely to use the Internet.


E-reader users read a wide variety of genres, but fiction and personal research are more prevalent than others.

Users also typically read free classics.

Overall tablet usage has nearly doubled between mid-December 2011 and mid-January

(10%->19%) due to the gift-giving season.

In early April, Pew will release a detailed report on e-books and usage.


Rainie argued that librarians must cater to both traditional library services (article retrieval, finding information) and new library services (digital content creation, computer literacy).

In a networked society, librarians should be a nexus or a network node that provides information to different networks and other nodes (users).

The final question that was asked during the presentation is how to cater to the vocal minority of blog and twitter users in the library. Rainie suggested more transparency with library operations, such as showing the analytics of library users, and that librarians may have to serve those who need or want to explore these new social media services. In addition, we should be trying to recruit social media users for their assistance. One such role could be testers of these technologies. Current statistics show that usage is low in using these technologies.

Further Reading

Rainie lastly mentioned two books on the topic of social networks and the networked society, Wealth of Networks and Too Big to Know. He is also releasing his own book in May.

Video of the presentation and Rainie’s slides will be soon available on the Metro Website.

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