May 6, 2007

A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users

Off the Network

Off the network: Those with neither cell phones nor internet connectivity are older, and seem content with old media.

Some 15% of Americans neither go online nor have a cell phone. They are the heaviest users of any group of old media, such as a radio and TV, but do not have an inclination (or perhaps the means) to try new information and communication technology.

Assets

Surprisingly, some have computers – 15% have either a desktop or laptop computer. A few in this group have digital cameras (12%) as well as video cameras (11%).

Activities

Fully 82% watch TV everyday and 76% have cable or satellite service. Members of this group report the highest levels of watching TV or listening to radio, when judged by self-reported number of hours per day doing these things.

Attitudes

Without either online access or cell phones, those who are “Off the Network” did not receive questions pertaining to how information technology impacts their lives. They did, however, receive the broad questions on attitudes toward information technology. Interestingly, this group did not convey especially high worries about information overload – 34% said they felt overloaded by information in society, above average, but below the figure reported by several groups with internet or cell phone access. Those who are Off the Network were, however, less likely than average to say they think technology gives them more control over their lives – by a 34% to 48% margin.

Demographics

This group is the oldest – the median age is 64 – and has the lowest reported levels of household income of any group. They are more likely to be women (57%) and are more ethnically diverse than some other groups. Three quarters are white and 18% are African American.