Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pew Internet News: Smartphones, social networking sites, and e-readers —oh my!

How people feel about their smartphones

Smartphone Adoption and Usage

One third (35%) of American adults age 18 and over own a smartphone of some kind, and one quarter (25%) of smartphone owners say that their phone is where they do most of their online browsing.  Several demographic groups have high levels of smartphone adoption, including the financially well-off and well-educated, non-whites, and those under the age of 45.

When asked about how they feel about their devices, 72% of smartphone owners used a positive word (such as “good”, “great”, “excellent” or “convenient”) to describe their phones, 16% used a negative description (such as “expensive” or “frustrated/frustrating”) and 12% offered a neutral word choice (such as “adequate”, “OK”, “fair” or “fine”). These findings are reflected in the word cloud above.

Report: E-reader ownership doubles in six months

The percent of U.S. adults with an e-book reader doubled from 6% to 12% between November 2010 and May 2011. Hispanic adults, adults younger than age 65, college graduates and those living in households with incomes of at least $75,000 are most likely to own e-book readers. Parents are also more likely than non-parents to own these devices.

Tablet computers have not seen the same level of growth among U.S. adults in recent months. In May 2011, 8% of adults report owning a tablet computer such as an iPad, Samsung Galaxy or Motorola Xoom. This is roughly the same percentage of adults who reported owning this kind of device in January 2011 (7%), and represents just a 3 percentage-point increase in ownership since November 2010. Overall, the highest rates of tablet ownership are among Hispanic adults and those with household incomes of at least $75,000 annually.

Report: Social networking sites and our lives

Questions have been raised about the social impact of widespread use of social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter. Do these technologies isolate people and truncate their relationships? Or are there benefits associated with being connected to others in this way? We decided to examine social networking sites in a survey that explored people’s overall social networks and how use of these technologies is related to trust, tolerance, social support, and community and political engagement.

The findings presented here paint a rich and complex picture of the role that digital technology plays in people’s social worlds. Wherever possible, we seek to disentangle whether people’s varying social behaviors and attitudes are related to the different ways they use social networking sites, or to other relevant demographic characteristics, such as age, gender and social class.

Pew Internet research in the news

25 percent use smartphones, not computers, for majority of Web surfing, July 11

Facebook launches video chat with Skype
Chicago Tribune, July 7

More Americans buying e-readers than tablets, study says
CNN, June 28

New resources:

We've added some ways to explore our many years' worth of data about how teens use technology.

Presentations calendar:

August 2  » Peer-to-peer Healthcare  Susannah Fox will take part in the National Institutes of Health seminar series, Medicine: Mind the Gap, on August 2, 2011.

See all upcoming presentations »

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The Pew Internet & American Life Project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit "fact tank"that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. The Pew Internet & American Life Project explores the impact of the internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care and civic/political life. Support for the project is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.