Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Cultures of the Internet: The Internet in Britain - Oxford Internet Survey 2013 Report

The researchers have been busy trying to define the landscape of Internet use in the UK.

First the BBC and now the OXIS. 

Some observations:

OXIS conclude that the numbers of the 65+ that use the Internet is now just short of 40%. I really should compare that to the BBC and ONS data. I think it is very much the same - give or take a few percentage points.

What is really interesting is the response to the question: "“Are you planning to get access to the Internet in the next year or so?”

Ex-users—that is, people who have used the Internet in the past but do not use it now—are more likely than non-users to plan to get access in the next year: 29% of ex-users were planning access compared to 9% of non-users. Not a surprising result.

But, for both ex-users and non-users the likelihood of obtaining access has declined steadily from 2005 to 2013. This indicates that the challenge of getting the last fifth of the population online
is growing every year, as the people who were most positively disposed to become users have already done so. An identical trend exists among households planning for future access.

This is an important finding that policy makers need to get into their heads. It has massive implications. I hate the saying about "low hanging fruit" but it seems to me that it has all been grabbed. It is going to take some jolly hard work to convert the last group of non-users to embrace the wonders of the digital world.

This research also contains a segmentation grouping of the "Cultures of the Internet". This is something of a mandatory thing for researchers to do, however, this one is reasonably good.

The UK, according to this research divides into five groups:

e-Mersives: This group of users is comfortable and naturally at home in the online world and happy being online.

Techno-pragmatists: Users that stands out by the centrality they accord to using the Internet to save time and make their lives easier.  Unlike the e-mersives, the pragmatists do not view the Internet as an escape, nor do they often go online just for the fun of it.

Cyber-savvy: A cluster with mixed feelings and beliefs about the Internet, holding somewhat ambivalent views.  Despite their concerns, they fully exploit the Internet as a pastime, as an efficient information resource, and as a social tool.

Cyber-moderates:  They seem to be moderate in both hopes and fears about the benefits and risks of the Internet.

Adigitals: They do not feel that the Internet makes them more efficient, nor do they enjoy being online simply to pass the time or escape from the real world. To members of this culture, the Internet is likely to be perceived as out of their control, potentially controlled by others.

Nothing in the research will surprise those of us working in the older industry but it does contain some interesting data. Like the BBC research it is free. Dick Stroud

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