Friday, June 1, 2007

Typology of ICT Users

The new A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users, as conducted and released by Pew Internet & American Life Project makes for both curious readings and consternation.

The report attempts to gain an understanding of people's relationship to information and communications technology (ICT) through a review of the physical devices they own and use, the ICT activities they engage in and their attitudes about information overload and tech capabilities. The determining factors look to define Web 2.0 from those who express themselves online and participate in common forums.

They take an interesting approach by dividing users into three categories of 10 distinct groups based on the responses of some 4,001 adults to telephone interviews (2006). It is probably impossible to avoid trying to fit oneself into the categories presented, or to rationalize why you prefer to be associated with one group rather than others if you share some perceived important attributes of several groups. Not the least of the motivations for self-categorization may come from the group titles...who wouldn't prefer to be an "omnivore?"

Too bad the interviews were confined to those 18+, as the anecdotal evidence substantiates that younger persons are both more tech savy, the heaviest tech users and nowadays own every tech device available. The author, John Horrigan as Associate Director of Research, does note that "modern information technology is the province of youth (but) each age cohort appears to have its technology champions who adopt early, with others then following."

The demographics of tech users are as interesting as the groups and group characteristics. Don't avoid the appendix. Some expected insights around tech usage, education and income. But today, can 15% of the population really exist that has neither internet access nor cell phones - and be satisfied?

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