Cellular technology is fast becoming ubiquitous, even in poorer, less developed parts of the word. From The Economist:
3.2 billion people, or 46% of the world’s total population of 7 billion, have at least one active mobile (cellular) device.
Japan, Britain and the Nordic countries have about 9 out of 10 citizens using mobile technology, which is pretty mind boggling. And infants, prisoners and certain other parts of the population are unlikely to start using mobile devices. You also have to keep in mind that many of the people not using mobile technology in developed countries are older, less tech savvy citizens.
This is particularly true in the United States, where the digital divide is increasingly one of age, not income. In the U.S., 66 percent of people 18-29 have smartphones, while just 11 percent of those 65 and older have them. And in poorer areas, the first real personal computer a person may own will be a smartphone, not a traditional computer:
Cell phones fill access gaps – 10% of cell-mostly internet users point towards a lack of other access options as the main reason why they primarily use their phone to go online, with 6% saying that they do not have access to a computer and 4% saying that they do not have any other source of internet access beyond their mobile connection.
Pew has a new report on the state of Twitter that shows that the rate of adoption and usage of Twitter is remaining fairly steady. The real story, however, might be that Twitter finds itself popular with educated and wealthy people and people at the other end of the spectrum, but not in between.
Some key findings:
- 15% of online adults use Twitter. A year ago that number was at 13%.
- On a daily basis about 8% of online adults use Twitter.
- Black American use Twitter at the highest rate with 28% of online black Internet users using the service. Compare that with 12% of online white Internet users.
- Young people like Twitter more than older adults. 26% of internet users ages 18-29 use Twitter, nearly double the rate for those ages 30-49. And 31% of Internet users between 18-24 use Twitter.
- The service is popular with poorer and wealthier citizens. 19% percent of Internet users with a household income below $30,000 use Twitter and 17% with a household income above $75,000 use Twitter. The people in between use it the least.
- The same trend holds true with education. Those with no high school diploma use the service the most at 22% and on the other hand those with at least a college degree use it at 17%. Again, in between the numbers drop off.
Twitter is a big site, but it’s clearly not a tool that the majority of Americans use. Half of adults and three-fourths of teenagers use social networking, with Facebook as by far the dominate site.
Twitter is the darling social network of journalists and cultural elites, but Facebook is where the majority of Americans are hanging out.
Amy Gahran has a nice breakdown as to why 1 in 5 U.S. adults don’t use the Internet.
The usual reasons are cited: age and lack of income, but there are some surprising findings. U.S. home broadband pentration dropped by four percentage points from 2010 to 2011. The recession clearly is affecting people’s abilities to get online, which may serve to deepen the recession.
Not being able to get online means that these people — often unemployed — will find it harder to find jobs and get government services. So much is done online now. When I was laid off at my last job, all of my job search was conducted online. I couldn’t imagine conducting a job search in 2012 without Internet and a computer at home.
People with disabilities are also less likely to go online and have home Internet. This tells me that too many websites are not accessible. Indeed, computers themselves still need to become more accessible.
Some nuggets from Amy’s post about those who aren’t using the Internet:
Mostly they’re older — 59% of U.S. seniors don’t go online. Also, nearly 60% of U.S. adults who never completed high school don’t use the Internet. And they’re mostly poor — nearly 40% of people with an annual household income under $30,000 don’t go online. (Pew notes that people with an annual household income under $20,000 are especially unlikely to use the Internet.)
People with disabilities also are more likely to not use the Internet. One- quarter of U.S. adults live with a disability that interferes with activities of daily life — and only 54% of these people are Internet users, Pew found.
It’s fascinating to see how ubiquitous all of these activities are getting. And look at social media: In 2007 it was around 17 percent and now it is at 65 percent. Just four years ago!
If you have the time, it’s worth checking out the full Pew report here.
A few other tidbits of interest:
- 87 percent of those 65-and-older Internet users report using search engines. How can you go online and not use a search engine? All the demographics agree with that.
- Those who graduated from college and have the highest income are the biggest users of search engines. 96 percent of college grads use search engines and 98 percent of those in the highest income bracket use search engines. Compare that to 81 percent for those with only some high school education and 90 percent for those in the lowest income bracket. Clearly education has a bigger impact on search engine use then income. Is it that going to college makes one more computer literate or that going to college makes one more of a knowledge seeker? Or that being a knowledge seeker inspires one to go to college?
- People love email. There isn’t a huge difference between the different age demographics in email use, and contrary to many email-is-dead proclaimers, email usage is highest among the 18-29 set.
More than half of new cell phone sales are smartphones, with 35% of all US adults having a smartphone now. The trend toward everyone carrying around pocket computers continues. Pew just released new data today with some fascinating tidbits:
- 35% of US adults own a smartphone of some kind. The financially well-off, college graduates, those under the age of 45, and non-whites are especially likely to be smartphone owners.
- 25% of smartphone owners say that they do most of their online browsing on their smartphone, and around one third of this group lacks traditional broadband access at home.
- 35% of smartphone owners have an Android phone, while iPhones and Blackberry devices are each owned by 24% of smartphone adopters. Android phones are especially prevalent among young adults and African-Americans, while iPhone and Blackberry adopters skew towards those with relatively high levels of income and education.
Mobile computing is the next big frontier of computing. And I mean BIG.