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.
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.
35% of American Adults Own a Smartphone
Smartphones have captured a significant share of the cellphone market in the U.S. and a quarter of owners say they go on line mostly using their device.
E-reader Ownership Doubles in Six Months
The share of U.S. adults who own an e-book reader — such as Kindle or Nook — doubled to 12% in May 2011 from 6% in November 2010. This is the first time that ownership of this device has reached double digits among adults.
Social Networking Sites and Our Lives
Close to half of all adults now use social networking sites (SNS) — double the number users in 2008 — and the average user is getting older. Are there benefits associated with being connected to others in this way? A new study finds SNS users more trusting, engaged and able to keep close social ties.
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.
The Social Life of Health Information, 2011
Eight-in-ten internet users have looked online for health information such as a specific disease or treatment, and an increasing number are sharing their own medical experiences and thoughts on the internet.
The Internet and Campaign 2010
More than half of U.S. adults used the internet for political purposes in the last cycle, far surpassing the 2006 midterm contest. They hold mixed views about the impact of the internet: It enables extremism, while helping the like-minded find each other. It provides diverse sources, but makes it harder to find truthful sources.