Pew Report Highlights the Impact of Mobile Technology

By Greenwood, Bill | Information Today, June 2009 | Go to article overview

Pew Report Highlights the Impact of Mobile Technology


Greenwood, Bill, Information Today


As mobile phone usage becomes more popular, so does internet usage, according to a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The report, "The Mobile Difference," groups respondents into two categories: Motivated by Mobility with 39% of respondents and Stationary Media Will Do with 61%. The survey found that those in the former category went online more often as their mobile use increased, while those in the latter group did not "feel the pull of mobility--or anything else--drawing them further into the digital world."

In the Motivated by Mobility group, users expressed a positive attitude toward cell phones with a 20% growth in usage from 2006 to 2007, according to the report. Most (66%) of these individuals also say it would be difficult for them to live without their mobile devices.

These attitudes have fostered a "symbiotic relationship" between mobile and standard technologies for these users, according to the report. These individuals are more likely to have a broadband connection in their house, and the digital content on their mobile devices is prompting "more activity on their broadband-enabled big screen at home." Wireless networks also turn these users' mobile devices into an extension of their desktop internet by providing a complementary access point.

However, the study reflected that those in the Stationary Media Will Do group "have a settled disposition toward ICTs" (information and communication technology). These individuals displayed neither growth nor an actual decline in internet use, though more of them have broadband access in their homes, as well as other technological devices. However, "ICTs remain on the periphery in their lives, suggesting that some adult Americans reach a plateau in their technology use."

This may be the result of declining attitudes toward cell phones since positive impressions among these users decreased by 64% from 2006 to 2007, according to the report. Only 21% of these individuals thought it would be difficult to live without their mobile devices.

Breaking It Down

"The Mobile Difference" also separates members of both categories into 10 smaller groups, five for each category. The Motivated by Mobility group consists of digital collaborators (8% of respondents), ambivalent networkers (7%), media movers (7%), roving nodes (9%), and mobile newbies (8%). The Stationary Media Will Do group has desktop veterans (13%), drifting surfers (14%), information encumbered users (10%), the tech indifferent (10%),and off-the-network individuals (14%).

While all the groups within a certain category have similar patterns of mobile ICT use, they are differentiated by their members' attitudes toward mobile technology. …

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Pew Report Highlights the Impact of Mobile Technology
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