Do-It-Yourself Internet on the Internet

Adult Internet users are turning to do-it-yourself (DIY) Web sites for instruction, not just home repair. A report from Pew Internet & American Life Project finds one in 20 people search for help in a typical day.

The report says 55 percent of adult Internet users have looked for how-to or DIY information online. DIY resides in the middle of other common Internet activities in terms of popularity: 78 percent use the Web to research products and services; and 72 percent go online to read news. On the other side of Internet activities, 24 percent of adult users have bid in online auctions, and 17 percent visit chat rooms.


Adult Internet User Participation in Online Activities (%)
Research products and services 78
Read news 72
Look up DIY information 55
Bid in online auctions 24
Visit chat rooms 17
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2005

DIY isn’t limited to home improvement. Pew reports statistics from Alexa Traffic Rankings that indicate online DIY queries extend well beyond home improvement and gardening tips. Alexa ranks ehow.com, a site offering help a broad range of topics, the top site in the category.

Broadband is cited as an element that spurs online searches around DIY projects. On any given day five percent of all Internet users will search online for “how-to” advice. Of those searchers, 11 percent have high-speed connections at home and work, four percent use a dial-up connection at home, and seven percent have broadband access at home.

“The broadband effect was very much at the top of our minds when asking this question,” said Mary Madden, research specialist for Pew Internet & American Life Project. “It is a perfect example of the type of activities people can do when they have high-speed access.”

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