Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Pew Study on Internet Users

The Washington Post reports on a Pew study that finds that "Forty-two percent of Americans still don’t use the Internet and the majority of them do not believe they ever will, according to a study released yesterday." I find this hard to believe, yet it may be so.

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This same study is referenced in a story in today’s NY Times, entitled "Eluding the Web’s Snare." I also found this quite difficult to believe.

In the New York Times article, the author - via the examples she cites -seems to suggest that non-usage is a function of age. Three of the four non-users mentioned in the article are 57 years old, or older. The Pew study, however, suggests that only 28% of non-users are 65 or older (though 50% of all non-users are age 50 or older).

My own personal experiences suggest - to me, anyway - that internet non-usage is as much a function of awareness (or the lack thereof) than anything else. I go out on the road about two weeks each month, where I interact with folks performing industrial finishing operations in job shops and OEMs (which I would suggest to you is fairly representative of Blue Collar America). To a lesser degree, I interact with the folks who are supplying the finishers with their equipment and commodities. Although I profess that the great many folks who I talk to do "get it," there is a certain population (let’s say between 25-30%) who either fear the internet, don’t understand it, or regard it as just a passing fad. Try as I might, I have been unable to identify a common bond (race, age, education) between these people. As a testament to the "x-factor" that ties these people together, I recently had a conversation with a very well-educated gentleman in my industry who swore that the internet would quickly go the way of beta tape decks and 8-track players.

Incidentally, a copy of the actual report may be downloaded (in PDF format) from this page.

It appears that I botched the link for the Pew Study. You’ll have better success finding the study if you click here instead.

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