July 1, 2008

The Future of the Pew Internet Project

July 1 marks the first day of our new two-year grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Regular patrons of our work will notice some changes in the months ahead. One simple change will be our efforts to provide some more detail about the research we are doing and when we will release new findings. Many of our friends have encouraged us to be more forthcoming in this way, so in that spirit I’ll tell you things like this:

We will be releasing new figures about Americans’ broadband adoption at 4 p.m. Eastern time tomorrow (Wednesday). In the coming months we will also have reports on families’ use of information and communications technology, how the internet and cell phones have affected people’s lives at work, the use of “cloud computing” applications, and an update of our tech user typology.

We also will unveil a new website in the fall that we hope will address many of the needs of our users by making our demographic data richer and easier to find, by making our reports easier to share and link to, and by inviting more conversation and input from users.

Our research itself will broaden and deepen in the next two years. In many surveys we will call cell-phone users because we know that will make our findings more reliable. Moreover, to complement and enrich our quantitative (polling) research, we will also be doing more qualitative work – focus groups, in-depth interviews, home visits and the like.

All that said, though, our core mission remains the same: We will continue to study the social impact of the internet and related technologies and we will monitor online life.

We thank all of you who have allowed us to interview you, have provided input to our research, have given feedback to the Pew Charitable Trusts about us, and who have encouraged us to do more. This is a fun place to work and the next two years will be an exciting time to be doing this kind of research.