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Pew Web 2
(May 09, 2007) Do you follow the
Pew Internet and American Life
Project? This service is the starting point for all market research on
Internet users and the penetration of technology in American life.
The Pew Internet & American Life
Project produces reports that explore the impact of the
Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily
life, education, health care, and civic and political life.
The Project aims to be an authoritative source on the
evolution of the Internet through collection of data and
analysis of real-world developments as they affect the
The basis of the reports are
nationwide random digit dial telephone surveys as well as
online surveys. This data collection is supplemented with
research from government agencies, academia, and other
expert venues; observations of what people do and how they
behave when they are online; in-depth interviews with
Internet users and Internet experts alike; and other efforts
that try to examine individual and group behavior. The
Project releases 15-20 pieces of research a year, varying in
size, scope, and ambition. (Pew
Following nicely on the heels of their
Wikipedia usage (pdf), Pew has just relaeased "A
Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users" (pdf). The 65
page report strives to segment technology users in a way that makes sense for
market planners, economists and other interested groups. Roughly, Pew sees
- Elite Users 31%
- Middle of the Road Users 20%
- Users w/ Few Tech Assets 49%
Each category is further broken down into
A couple of really interesting things emerge from
this current report. For years, I've used Geoffrey Moore's "Crossing
the Chasm" as a guideline for explaining the penetration and percolation of
technology. Moore's famous
curve, which includes a massive "chasm between the "early adopters" and the
rest of the market, suggest that 5% to 10% of the population are early adopters.
It's pretty easy to make the case that the Pew
report shows technology adoption to be a function of demographics. Thus, 20 to
30 year old white men are a huge factor in Web 2.0 usage while African Americans
are driving the pure mobile adoption cycle. A stunning half (49%) of all users
have limited capacities. This is in spite of the fact that half of them have
really great access to the technology itself.
It will be really useful to digest this report if
you are in the process of developing technology that depends on an adoption
rate. Newspaper folks, job board entrepreneurs, ATS developers and new technique
sourcers need to pay close attention to the market realities laid out in the
If half of the population doesn't like/need/use
the technology irrespective of whether or not they have access to it, can
widespread adoption goals really make sense?
At the same time, adoption seems clearly skewed
to age. We're betting that Web 2.0 enterprises that target this segment will see
big pay days.
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