May 6, 2007

A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users

Indifferents

Indifferents: They have a fair amount of technology on hand, but it does not play a central role in their daily lives.

This group collectively has a portfolio of information technology that is the lower than any of the preceding groups. Although Indifferents with online access will log on to the internet once every day or so, they are not active users of online resources. They believe – though not too strongly – that information technology is a good way to keep up with family and friends, but they do not much care for how these gadgets make them more available to others.

Assets

Some 63% of Indifferents have online access and 68% have cell phones. Adding to their low rates of access to the basics, just 12% have broadband at home – a figure that is less than a third the rate of the average. This group is not well-equipped with tools for accessing the web wirelessly or enjoying digital content “on the go.” One in nine (11%) have laptop computers, 4% have MP3 players, and just 3% have PDAs. Their cell phones generally do not have the capacity to surf the internet, or play music of videos.

Activities

About half (35%) of internet users in this group will go online on the typical day, but few use the internet frequently either at home or work. Just 4% say they log on several times a day at home, and 12% of Indifferents say this about logging on at the work; both figures are well below the norm. This group exhibits little interest in online activities such as downloading music or video and only 9% log on just to pass the time or for fun on the average day – one-third the average. Indifferents tend to watch TV everyday or listen to the radio, but only on the old-fashioned devices for accessing such programming.

ICTs on the periphery: few like how it makes them more available to others and hardly any think it makes them more productive.

Attitudes

ICTs are not central enough in the lives of Indifferents to make them very enthusiastic about them. Most like having so much information available to them (63% versus the 67% average), and but just 22% say technology gives them more control over their lives – a figure that is less half the average and the lowest of any group.

Only 14% like the extra availability to others that ICTs bring, below the 48% average. Only 5% thinks ICTs make them more productive, far below the 33% average. Finally, 6% and 7%, respectively, of internet users in this group say it would be very hard to give up the internet and email. Some Indifferents (30%) seem to value information technology to keep up with family and friends, but that is half the average and the lowest of any group.

Demographics

The median age for Indifferents is 47 and the typical Indifferent group member has been online for 5 years – below the 7 years which is the median for all online users. The group is mostly white (76%) and comes in below the average for income, educational attainment, and employment. Its gender composition is close to that of the general population (52% of this group is men) and this group makes up 11% of the general population.