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November 25, 2003
Communication vs Gadgets
The Pew Internet & American Life Project released a survey this week on the "tech elite," in which they note the growing importance of social technologies for that ~31% of the population:
This elite comprises three distinct sub-groups of Americans who are the most voracious consumers of information goods and services in the United States.
* The Young Tech Elites make up one-fifth of the technology elite. The average age for this group is 22 years.
* Older Wired Baby Boomers make up the remaining one-fifth of the technology elite. The average age for these baby boomers is 52.
* Wired Generation Xers (GenXers) make up most of the technology elite (about 60%). The average age for this group is 36 years.
Technology elites in the United States have more than just a lot of technology, although they have plenty of that. For this group, the Internet, cell phone, digital videodisc player, and personal digital assistant are commonplace; many of them access the Internet wirelessly and are starting to pay for online content. What is distinctive about them is that new electronic communications technologies come first. They would rather do without their wireline telephone than their computer. For the Young Tech Elites, the cell phone is more important than the wireline phone, and email is as important as telephonic communication. For the Young Tech Elites, the Internet is a regular source for daily news and an indispensable element of their entertainment experience.
The report is based on a survey from October 2002, which means it preceded some of the recent hype on weblogs, YASNS like Friendster, and the like; it will be interesting to see how much some of these numbers have shifted over the past year.
Of particular interest to me, of course, was the discussion of gender in this space. The typical media/pop culture image of the "tech elite" is male, but in fact the [insert Richard Dawson voice here] survey says
Substantial numbers of women in the United States are active and enthusiastic consumers of information goods and services. In fact, 46% of the tech elite are women whether among the Young Tech Elites, Wired GenXers, or Older Wired Baby Boomers. Comparing tech elite women to their male counterparts reveals some interesting contrasts within this most tech-oriented segment of the population. In very broad terms, tech elite women seem more enthused about the information technologies that enable communication and perhaps less enthralled with the latest hardware.
Excellent fodder for my O'Reilly presentation
, I think.
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