The latest statistics lead me to think that it’s a good chance you’re reading this article on a wirelessly connected device.
Mobile Internet usage appears to be gradually on the rise as the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project reports today that 56% of Americans have accessed the Internet wirelessly at some point through either a laptop, cell phone, MP3 player, game console, or some combination of the four. Out of all Americans, 39% have used a laptop, while 32% have used some other mobile device.
This new data reveals that mobile Internet usage has increased by a third since December 2007, marking a strong, steady climb, says Pew in its report titled, “Wireless Internet Use.”
When asked how important wireless usage was to them to “stay in touch easily with other people,” “have easy access to information online,” and “share or post content online,” respondents overwhelmingly cited the first two options as very important or somewhat important. The third option seems to be more reserved for the younger Internet users, as a quarter of 18-29-year olds said that was very important to them.
Sharing content online can be sort of a weird experience for a lot of people, especially for older generations who did not grow up with the social networks that are so commonplace now. With stories coming in every single day shouting the rise of social media, however, I expect to see posting online content to become as natural and widespread as staying in touch or accessing online information.
Another interesting result of the study, breaking down the demographics of handheld Internet users, details how people aged 18-29 are the biggest users, at 53%. Beyond that, 48% of African Americans and 47% of English-speaking Hispanics are the next two biggest demographics of handheld usage, with 20% more users than white Americans.
Pew thinks this data, in contrast to the fact that 10% more white Americans use laptops wirelessly than do African Americans, shows a thinning of the digital divide, as a wider array of products make it easier for anybody to find the right device for going online. The report says that African Americans are the fastest growing group of wireless Internet users.
Though Pew’s report did not look into the market penetration of any specific devices, typical activities listed—GPS searches, video watching, instant messaging—indicate the rise of the smartphone as a probable factor in the growth of wireless Internet usage.
(image source: www.ehow.com)