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Internet Usage

By skim123 in MLP
Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 01:49:01 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

A recent study on Internet usage has shown some relatively interesting figures... nothing earth-shattering, but worth discussing perhaps. The study shows a direct correlation between Internet access and education levels, over 50% of Internet users have purchased goods online, and email usage has almost surpassed browsing as the #1 on-line activity.

Some specific numbers:

  • 66.9 percent of Americans use the Internet
  • 86.3 percent of Americans with college degrees use the Internet compard to under 32% of those who lack a high school degree.
  • Top Internet activities include browsing (81.7%) and Email (81.6%)
  • 6.3% of Internet users say they often feel ignored by another household member spending time online... sad.

The study was a done via survey of nearly 2,100 Internet and non-Internet users.


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Internet Usage | 27 comments (17 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
Well duh... (2.20 / 5) (#3)
by judges1617 on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 10:06:32 AM EST

86.3 percent of Americans with college degrees use the Internet compard to under 32% of those who lack a high school degree.

Let's see most people went to college probably make enough money to afford the nicities in life, like a computer. Most of the people I know that didn't even graduate from high school, well they still work at MacDonald's and live at home with their parents like nothing is wrong. So the only way the get to use the internet is if their parents own one.

Statistics show.... (1.60 / 5) (#4)
by 0x00 on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 10:14:26 AM EST

that I can't think of anything I hate more than statistics (-1)...

I bet the people who work here no how to have fun...


No, I don't feel sorry for all those clowns out there

No, Know, & NUL (none / 0) (#15)
by scott@b on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 01:32:54 PM EST

and maybe a grammer checker ...

[ Parent ]
yeah... (none / 0) (#27)
by 0x00 on Fri Nov 03, 2000 at 08:02:05 PM EST

i really should 'preview'



Clowns grammer is bad.

[ Parent ]
Interesting.. (2.28 / 7) (#5)
by Inoshiro on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 10:37:55 AM EST

2,100 Americans represent 0.000076% of the US population. Any numbers here will probably be a tad skewed. As for browing and email battling it out -- of course. They're two of a "killer apps" of the Internet. Email will always be faster, more efficient than traditional letter mail (which is why most of the US Gov't's been using it since the 1980s, or at least the parts that knew about DARPA.. go look at the date on RFC 822). I think once Netscape made browsing easy and GUI, it became obvious what a killer app that was, too :-)

[ イノシロ ]
Small samples can be ok (3.50 / 2) (#12)
by khallow on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 12:06:40 PM EST

2,100 Americans represent 0.000076% of the US population. Any numbers here will probably be a tad skewed.

Small sample sizes are ok if they're representative of the whole population (i.e., "unbiased"). And how much a unbiased sample can drift from an underlying population is well understood. E.g., a unbiased survey of 2,100 Americans is quite sufficient for a population of any size (for 2100 people it's something like 90-95% chance that a yes/no question will be accurate to within 3% no matter how many people are in the overall population). The key word is "unbiased". With the right biases, you can get survey results that will reflect whatever you want them to reflect. There are many examples of bad polls out there. More are cranked out every week and are worth every BTU you can extract.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Not so... (3.50 / 2) (#23)
by skim123 on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 10:59:09 PM EST

2,100 Americans represent 0.000076% of the US population. Any numbers here will probably be a tad skewed

It's been a while since I've taken a statistics course, but 2,100 is a LOT of people... just make sure your sample is randomly selected from the population whom you're reporting about.

Did you know those famous Gallup polls are usually have about 700-800 paticipants? And they have a small error of around +/- 4%. Of course this all assumes a normal distribution...

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

[ Parent ]
Lies, damned lies and statistics (3.75 / 4) (#8)
by spaceghoti on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 11:07:39 AM EST

Okay, so the post is about statistics. That didn't recommend it to me, either. But I think the topic is a fair one. ABCNews.com just posted the UCLA Study on the impact of the Internet on society, and I think between the two we've got the ingredients for a good discussion.

Clearly we're all in favor of the 'Net or you wouldn't be reading this, but do you think the impact of these activities is as accurate and meaningful as they're painted, or do you think the truth lies somewhere else? And why?

"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

Oops... (none / 0) (#14)
by khallow on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 12:22:27 PM EST

That was the UCLA survey. No other survey to compare. However, I imagine that some of the internet fluff leaders like the Gartner Group or Dataquest has some amusing surveys. Well, I've looked, but I don't see anything interesting except Dataquest is owned by Gartner Group. Ok, Nua Internet Surveys has something here. It's a random collection of a bunch of 3rd party demographics reports and surveys that they've assembled.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

2100 Users? (-1) (2.14 / 7) (#9)
by farl on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 11:20:38 AM EST

That's not a poll. That's a random questionaire on the street.

If you want to question something as pervasive and spread as the internet and its usage, you would need (IMHO) to sample 10's of thousands of people. Not 2100.

As for email usage, that is to be expected. We can all honestly say that unless we are looking for something specific, we don't spend as much time as we used to just surfing the web. I used to just surf and follow random links a while ago. I still do occasionally. But now ive looked up every recipe i could ever want, ever product description, every everything that was on my list. So now email (which is always fresh and new and coming to me without any effort on my part) is playing a major part. I still do surf the web. Just not as randomly as i used to.


Actually... (3.66 / 3) (#11)
by Gabey on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 11:46:32 AM EST

If I remember right (and forgive me, my stats class was a couple years ago) once you reach a certain number of people (1500 or so) the accuracy of the poll starts to get diminishing returns. That is...at 1500 people, there is a 95% chance that the next time you do the poll the answers will faill within the margin of error (probably 3% or so).
Really, it's not the number of people you poll, it's *how* you poll...and how random your sample is.

[ Parent ]
How many do CNN, Roper, Field, et al use? (none / 0) (#26)
by aphrael on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 01:43:13 AM EST

That's equivalent in order of magnitude to the number of people questioned for the major tracking polls that predict the result of the next election.

Asimov once wrote a couple of short stories based on the notion that computers got sufficiently advanced that they could predict the election results from *one vote*. We aren't there yet, but statistics is still amazing/scary stuff.

[ Parent ]
Descrepency between educated & non educated users (4.00 / 2) (#17)
by spectatorion on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 01:54:15 PM EST

One note on the "digital divide" between college educated and non-college educated people: This is just a result of the descrepancy between the rich and poor in this country. Equipping poor or uneducated people with the Internet will not necessarily make them rich and educated. This problem is better fixed by strengthening social programs like education, healthcare, and monetary incentives for college educations. Then people will be more educated overall, and therefore more likely to get out of a position of poverty or a history of lack of education (which exists in many areas). Useful as it is, the Internet is not a necessary academic tool. Standard education should be emphasized and desire to explore the Internet will follow.

The government has taken this to be their little pet cause to make the people happy because the Internet is all the rage these days. It is much easier to go to a bunch of schools, install a cable modem and a cluster of computers, and leave than it is to make the school a better place to learn. The Internet is definitely a great resource, but the problem with troubled schools is that the education they are providing is sub-standard because there are not enough quality teachers, there is not enough classroom space, the textbooks are outdated, or any combination of these and other things. Internet is beneficial and I'm sure there's some correlation between the quality of a school and whether or not it has Internet access, but this is simply because schools who thus far have been able to afford proving Internet access have also been able to afford good teachers, good textbooks, and other essentials of a proper learning institution.

So, when reading this poll, be sure not to get some crazy idea that giving Internet access to bad schools will make them good schools. First you have to make them good schools, then they will benefit from Internet access.

Horses can't push carts very well (3.00 / 1) (#18)
by fluffy grue on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 02:36:34 PM EST

    Equipping poor or uneducated people with the Internet will not necessarily make them rich and educated.
I don't think anyone was making the claim that the Internet gave people the college degree. :) (At least, not in the context of this discussion... I'm sure George Gore and Al Bush have been in their campaign platforms.)
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

email surpassing browsing? (2.00 / 2) (#20)
by boxed on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 08:31:52 PM EST

Email isn't about to surpass browsing. If that survey actually gives real numbers (and I doubt it) browsing has surpassed email. Don't forget that email is the killer app of the internet.

study performed in slovakia (3.00 / 1) (#24)
by hany on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 02:59:05 AM EST

I do not know ho much number are published here (it is commercial survey):
<a href=&quot;http://www.sius.sk/en/vysledky/&quot;>http://www.sius.sk/en/vysledky/
but at least there are named some user groups with theire basic characteristics.

btw IIRC study was done via inet based survey of nearly 5000 internet users


correct link (none / 0) (#25)
by hany on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 03:02:01 AM EST


i hope it'll work


[ Parent ]
Internet Usage | 27 comments (17 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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