A superb report (as is usually the case from Pew Internet) to read today and one to include in your web-based reference collection. We’re looking forward to more reports in this series.
From Pew Internet’s Lee Rainie and Susannah Fox:
This report is the first part of a sustained effort through 2014 by the Pew Research Center to mark the 25th anniversary of the creation of the World Wide Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Lee wrote a paper on March 12, 1989 proposing an “information management” system that became the conceptual and architectural structure for the Web. He eventually released the code for his system—for free—to the world on Christmas Day in 1990. It became a milestone in easing the way for ordinary people to access documents and interact over a network of computers called the internet—a system that linked computers and that had been around for years. The Web became especially appealing after Web browsers were perfected in the early 1990s to facilitate graphical displays of pages on those linked computers.
This first report looks back at the rapid change in internet penetration over the last quarter century, and covers new survey findings about Americans’ generally positive evaluations of the internet’s impact on their lives and personal relationships.
From the Overview
In a new national survey to mark the 25th anniversary of the Web, Pew Research finds further confirmation of the incredible spread and impact of the internet:
- 87% of American adults now use the internet, with near-saturation usage among those living in households earning $75,000 or more (99%), young adults ages 18-29 (97%), and those with college degrees (97%). Fully 68% of adults connect to the internet with mobile devices like smartphones or tablet computers.
The adoption of related technologies has also been extraordinary: Over the course of Pew Research Center polling, adult ownership of cell phones has risen from 53% in our first survey in 2000 to 90% now. Ownership of smartphones has grown from 35% when we first asked in 2011 to 58% now.
Asked for their overall judgment about the impact of the internet, toting up all the pluses and minuses of connected life, the public’s verdict is overwhelmingly positive.
- 90% of internet users say the internet has been a good thing for them personally and only 6% say it has been a bad thing, while 3% volunteer that it has been some of both.
- 76% of internet users say the internet has been a good thing for society, while 15% say it has been a bad thing and 8% say it has been equally good and bad.