Age doesn’t matter, the Internet is about relationships and knowledge


I have been analysing the community and youth surveys on use of the Internet and have been surprised to see that high school students value the same things about the Internet as us old folks.  We asked students to describe what they liked best about the Internet.  As this word cloud (generated by tagcloud) of their most frequent words show, what they love is staying in contact with their friends and having access to information about anything, anywhere, anytime.

Instead of asking adults to describe what they valued about the Internet in words, we asked them to rank how important different uses of the Internet were to them on a scale of 1 to 9.  Connecting with people and learning new information got the highest scores for adults in each age group — beating scores for entertainment and personal business.

Personally, I find it increadibly reassuring these are the reasons people love the Internet.  Much of what people do on the Internet is either very practical (like banking and paying bills) or rather inwardly focused like listening to music, watching video clips or playing games. Being able to do these things have been very cool.  But what people really value is the greater connect with those they care about and learning more about whatever part of existence interests them the most.




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