Typology of Information Communication Technology Users

U.S. adults fall into 10 attitudinal groups regarding the information and communication technology (ICT) each person uses. That’s according to “A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users,” a report released by Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The report finds 85 percent of American adults use the Internet, a cell phone, or both. Those who “exploit the connectivity, the capacity for self expression, and the interactivity of modern information technology” comprise 8 percent of American adults, while half of adults maintain a more distant relationship with ICT. Ten distinct groups emerge in study’s findings.

Four groups embrace technology or find it takes up a large part of their lives. Eighty percent of these four groups combined have high-speed Internet access at home, twice the national average.

A group classified as “omnivores” comprises 8 percent of American adults. They have an appetite for gadgets and services, and are more likely to participate in Web 2.0 activities. They’re 70 percent male, and 53 percent of them are between 18 and 29 years old.

“We found a younger, technology-oriented group, the group loves technology and is using it as a platform for creativity,” said John Horrigan, associate director for research at Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Connectors (7 percent) frequently use the Internet and feature-packed cell phones to connect to people and keep on top of digital content. Connectors are 55 percent female; 54 percent are between 30 and 49. In addition to managing career and family, ICT devices aid this group in work with community groups and the pursuit of hobbies.

The group classified as “lackluster veterans” (8 percent) is jaded after an average 10 years online. This group is 65 percent male, and predominantly (51 percent) between 30 and 49 years old. While lackluster veterans are frequent users of the Web, and cell phones to a lesser degree, they don’t se ICT as a tool to enhance productivity. The group has “come to a well-learned sense of how they feel about information technology,” said Horrigan.

Productivity enhancers (8 percent) maintain strongly positive views about the use of technology to enhance their work and social lives. Productivity enhancers are evenly split between male and female, falling predominantly in the 30 to 49 year-old age group (51 percent).

The middle-range of connected individuals are classified as “mobile centrics” (10 percent), and the “connected but hassled” (10 percent). The mobile group has slightly more men (52 percent), and skews younger than other groups; 40 percent are between 18 and 29. The connected but hassled segment is 59 percent female, most of the group is between 30 and 49 (45 percent).

The remaining 49 percent of American adults fall into low-tech groups. Only 14 percent of the segment has a broadband connection at home. Another group is “off the network” (15 percent), unconnected by Web or cell phone. The “off the grid” population is predominantly female (57 percent) with a median age of 64; 50 percent are 65 or older.

Three additional groups include the “inexperienced experimenters” (8 percent); “light but satisfied” (15 percent); and “indifferents” (11 percent). These three groups combined have a median age range between 47 and 53.

The findings were based on a daily tracking survey on Americans’ use of the Internet. Telephone interviews of 4,001 adults age 18 and older were conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between February and April of 2006.

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