An inveterate ‘early adopter’ like myself can’t help thinking that I might be arriving too late at the techno-party. While I consider myself to be moderately ‘tech-savvy’ I always have the feeling that I am missing the boat. I mean, what does it say about my level of technological prowess that my kids look at me with pity because I don’t use my mobile phone to ‘text’.
Sure, I have created this blog (thanks to WordPress) and I can tinker with HTML and CSS, but hacking and programming skills elude me. Is the world of technological innovation is passing me by?
Apparently not. According to a recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project I’m still ahead of the proverbial curve. According to the report a mere “8% of Americans are deep users of the participatory web and mobile applications”.
I have spent a great deal of time studying online forums and virtual brand communities. As a result I had begun to think that the level of participation on these forums and in these communities was widespread. The Pew survey numbers do not support this.
The Pew report differentiated between what it calls “digital activities”, such as texting, playing video games, listening to music on a device other than a radio, and watching TV on devices other than a television, and the “user-generated content” that I have been discussing. In the general population “digital activities” are much more prevalent than is “content generation”.
Of the 71% of American adults that use the Internet the following activities have been reported:
- Content Generation
John Horrigan at Pew Internet has created a Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users. According to the categories he has identified, a majority of the content-generation originates with the 31% of American adult internet users that Horrigan has labelled Elite Tech Users. He further refines the typology by dividing these Elite users into 4 distinct categories:
Interestingly, due to its ‘digital’ nature, text messaging on your mobile phone doesn’t necessarily make you part of the group of elite tech users.
Mobile Centrics, while just as likely as Omnivores to text with their mobile phone (94% and 93% respectively), they are not at all likely to post comments to an online website. (55% of Omnivores exhibit this behavior as opposed to 0% of Mobile Centrics.) Mobile Centrics are also less likely (6% as opposed to 34% for Omnivores) to have a weblog.
So it’s my kids’ use of Facebook, not their proficiency with texting, that puts them in the group of Elite Tech Users. I have a little more difficulty categorizing myself within Horrigan’s typology. Based on my content generation activities , I could be one of Horrigan’s Elite Omnivores, as could my mother. However, neither of us has seen ’28’ in a while and neither of us is particularly proficient with ‘texting’ on our mobile phones.