Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pew Internet News: How people learn about their local community; Text messaging; Teens

How people learn about their local community

Local newsWhile local TV news remains the most popular source for local information in America, adults rely on it primarily for just three subjects—weather, breaking news and to a lesser extent traffic. And for all their problems, newspapers (both print and on the web) are the source Americans turn to most for a wider range of information than any other source, according to a new survey out today.

The internet has a strong hold in the local community as well. Web-only outlets are now the key source of information on some key subjects such as education or local business and restaurants. And greater disruption seems to lie ahead. For the 79% of Americans who are online, as well as Americans ages 18-39, the internet ranks as a top source of information for most of the local subjects studied in the survey. 

These are among the findings of a new study produced by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Pew Internet & American Life Project in partnership with John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The survey looks in a new and detailed way at how people learn about community by breaking down local information into 16 key topic areas. The result is a more nuanced understanding of the role each media plays in a community. Read more...

Report: Americans and Text Messaging

Some 83% of American adults own cell phones and three-quarters of them (73%) send and receive text messages. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project asked those texters in a survey how they prefer to be contacted on their cell phone and 31% said they preferred texts to talking on the phone, while 53% said they preferred a voice call to a text message. Another 14% said the contact method they prefer depends on the situation.

Young adults are the most avid texters by a wide margin. Cell owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day—that works out to more than 3,200 texts per month—and the typical or median cell owner in this age group sends or receives 50 messages per day (or 1500 messages per month).

Overall, the survey found that both text messaging and phone calling on cell phones have leveled off for the adult population as a whole. Text messaging users send or receive an average of 41.5 messages on a typical day, with the median user sending or receiving 10 texts daily – both figures are largely unchanged from what we reported in 2010. Similarly, cell owners make or receive an average of 12 calls on their cells per day, which is unchanged from 2010.


Report: 28% of American adults use mobile and social location-based services

More than a quarter (28%) of all American adults use mobile or social location-based services of some kind. This includes anyone who takes part in one or more of the following activities:

  • 28% of cell owners use phones to get directions or recommendations based on their current location.
  • 5% of cell owners use their phones to check in to locations using geosocial services such as Foursquare or Gowalla.
  • 9% of internet users set up social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn so that their location is automatically included in their posts on those services.

Taken together, 28% of U.S. adults do at least one of these activities either on a computer or using their mobile phones—and many users do several of them. These figures come from a new national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and represent Project’s most expansive study of location services to date.

Pew Internet research in the news

Study: Newspapers still #1 source for news
CBS News, September 28

Pew Media Study Shows Reliance on Many Outlets
New York Times, September 26

One in Three Texters Would Rather Text Than Talk
New York Times, September 20

Recent presentations:

Medicine 2.0: Peer-to-peer healthcare [FULL TEXT]  »  Susannah Fox gave the closing keynote at the Medicine 2.0 conference at Stanford University on Sunday, September 18, 2011. Read the text of her speech in full on our website. (Related video: "Why Medicine 2.0")

Reading, Writing, & Research in the Digital Age [SLIDES]  » At the School Library Journal's Leadership Summit 2011, Director Lee Rainie looked at the “state of reading” in the digital age by going through Pew Internet data about how teens use the internet, smartphones, and social networking sites. He argued that reading is now 1) raw material for further creation; 2) real-time in the mobile age; 3) a “social contact sport” as teens share reading and other media and learn from them. You can view or download his slides here.

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.