What new uses of the Internet might emerge in the 2012 campaign?
Senior research staff answer questions from readers relating to all the areas covered by our seven projects, ranging from polling techniques and findings, to media, technology, religious, demographic and global attitudes trends.
The Digital Revolution and Higher Education
As online college courses are becoming more prevalent, the public is skeptical about their educational value. Only 29% of Americans say online classes are equal in value to classes taken in person. College presidents have a more positive view of online learning and they foresee dramatic growth in this area.
65% of Online Adults Use Social Networking Sites
Two-thirds of adult internet users (65%) now say they use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn. That’s more than double the percentage that reported social networking site usage in 2008.
Search and Email Still the Most Popular Online Activities
As they have done for nearly a decade, email and search form the core of online communication and online information gathering, respectively, even as new platforms, broadband and mobile devices continue to reshape the way Americans use the internet and web.
71% of Online Adults Now Use Video-Sharing Sites
Rural internet users are now just as likely as users in urban and suburban areas to have used video-sharing sites, and online African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than internet-using whites to visit video-sharing sites.
Internet Phone Calls
After years of modest activity, online phone calling has taken off as a quarter of American adult internet users (24%) have placed phone calls online. That amounts to 19% of all American adults.
How the Public Perceives Community Information Systems
Studies in three cities show that if people believe their local government shares information well, they also feel good about their town and its civic institutions. Those who are avid information consumers from news media and online sources are more likely to be involved and feel they have impact.
Latinos and Digital Technology
Latinos are less likely than whites to access the internet, have a home broadband connection or own a cell phone. However, Hispanics and whites with similar socioeconomic characteristics have similar usage patterns for these technologies.
Generations and Gadgets
While many tech devices have become popular across generations, Millennials are by far the most likely group not only to own most gadgets, but also to take advantage of a wider range of functions on those devices.
Accessing Health Topics on the Internet
Health information remains one of the most important subjects that internet users research online. The Pew Internet Project and California HealthCare Foundation have added eight new topics — including food safety, drug safety, and pregnancy information — to their national survey measuring internet users’ interest in health information.