Old media spins Pew's new research
The latest report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project
has a lot of people talking since it was released this past weekend. The analysis of 2006 data looks at the numbers and segments driving "Web 2.0" activities such as blogging, photo sharing, commenting, and so on. You can get a PDF copy of the report here
A whopping 37 percent of people surveyed said that they had engaged in at least one "2.0" type of activity (like blogging, posting photos or videos, creating web sites or mixing/mashing content, amongst other activities. The study finds that people fit into 3 broad categories:
* Elite users (31 percent)
* Middle of the road users (20 percent)
* Those with few "tech assets" and limited use of technology (49 percent)
Pretty good numbers, right?
Well, you wouldn't know it by reading the mainstream media's spin on the report. Even John Paczkowski, who used to write "Good Morning Silicon Valley" for the San Jose Mercury News (one of my favourite blogs) gets it totally wrong
, suggesting "that Web 2.0 – the “participatory Web”–has far fewer participants than its architects would have us believe." Larry Dignan asks if Web 2.0's upside is capped
. I've found several other articles published by the mainstream media with the same slant.
But hold on a minute ...
The whole "2.0" phenomenon is only a couple years old, and what would be considered the most sophisticated community and networking tools, software and sites are all still quite young.
As I commented yesterday
over on TechCrunch about this ... It is still quite early in the adoption cycle, and it should come as no surprise that adoption is being led by a small, tech-savvy group of younger, media-driven enthusiasts and early-adopters.
I find the fact that 31 percent of American adults are considered to be “elite tech users” to be a very encouraging fact. Almost one third of US adults? Incredible. How some can think that this is not an incredibly encouraging number is beyond me.
Mathew Ingram echoes my feelings
John Paczkowski of All Things D says that it’s clear from the study that Web 2.0 "has far fewer participants than its architects would have us believe." But is that really clear? I don’t think so. Did I miss the part where Tim O’Reilly or the other "architects" of Web 2.0 said everyone would be blogging and posting content within a year or two? I must have.
David Utter suggests
that "there is a temptation to call this a "digital divide," but that's not entirely accurate." Other comments/posts can be found here
These are the links to the mainstream new articles I found:Web 2.0 Audience in Mirror May Be Smaller Than It Appears
John Paczkowski, Wall Street JournalIs Web 2.0’s upside capped?
Larry Dignan, ZD NetSorry, geeks, but you're definitely in the minority
Dwight Silverman, Houston ChronicleSurvey defines split in technology use
Anick Jesdanun, Associated Press/USA TodayPew survey shows VoIP has a lot to do to reach the mass market
Russell Shaw, ZD Net
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