Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pew Internet News: Location-based services, social networking sites, and the digital revolution & higher education

65% of online adults use social networking sites

Fully 65% of adult internet users now say they use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 61% one year ago. This marks the first time in Pew Internet surveys that 50% of all adults use social networking sites.

The frequency of social networking site usage among young adult internet users under age 30 was stable over the last year – 61% of online Americans in that age cohort now use social networking sites on a typical day, compared with 60% one year ago. However, among the Boomer-aged segment of internet users ages 50-64, social networking site usage on a typical day grew a significant 60% (from 20% to 32%).
“The graying of social networking sites continues, but the oldest users are still far less likely to be making regular use of these tools,” said Mary Madden, Senior Research Specialist and co-author of the report. “While seniors are testing the waters, many Baby Boomers are beginning to make a trip to the social media pool part of their daily routine.”

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.
  • A much smaller number (5% of cell owners) use their phones to check in to locations using geosocial services such as Foursquare or Gowalla. Smartphone owners are especially likely to use these services on their phones, with 12% doing so.
  • 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.

Report: The Digital Revolution and Higher Education

As online college courses have become increasingly prevalent, the general public and college presidents offer different assessments of their educational value, according to a new Pew Research Center report. Just three-in-ten American adults (29%) say a course taken online provides an equal educational value to one taken in a classroom. By contrast, about half of college presidents (51%) say online courses provide the same value.

More than three-quarters of college presidents (77%) report that their institutions now offer online courses, and college presidents predict substantial growth in online learning: 15% say most of their current undergraduate students have taken a class online, 50% predict that ten years from now most of their students will take classes online.

Pew Internet research in the news

Only about half of smartphone owners use phone's GPS for directions
CNN, September 7

Steal this report: College plagiarism up, says Pew report, August 30

Half of American adults use Facebook, other social networks: Pew
Washington Post, August 26

Upcoming reports:

Check back for a new report out on Monday, September 19th, about Americans and text messaging.

Presentations calendar:

September 18  » Medicine 2.0  Susannah Fox will be the closing keynote speaker at the Medicine 2.0 conference at Stanford University on Sunday, September 18, 2011. (Related video: "Why Medicine 2.0")

She will present the Pew Internet Project's latest research on the use of social networking sites and smartphones -- and how these technologies have transformed the health communications landscape over the last 10 years.

See all upcoming presentations »

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About us:

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.