Infomavores in America

The Pew Internet and American Life Project recently released a study called A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users. The introduction opens with a rap about Web 2.0, but the study has a stronger focus on use of information gadgets and appliances.

Some interesting nuggets of wisdom from the report: 27% of all respondents said they feel overloaded, and 67% of all respondents said they like having so much information available.

8% of Americans are deep users of the participatory Web and mobile applications.

And then there are key categories of users they came up with–the typology. I’m not sure I get all the distinctions here. Seems like too much overlap to be really useful.

  • Omnivores: 8% of American adults constitute the most active participants in the information society, consuming information goods and services at a high rate and using them as a platform for participation and self-expression.
  • The Connectors: 7% of the adult population surround themselves with technology and use it to connect with people and digital content. They get a lot out of their mobile devices and participate actively in online life.
  • Lackluster Veterans: 8% of American adults make up a group who are not at all passionate about their abundance of modern ICTs. Few like the intrusiveness their gadgets add to their lives and not many see ICTs adding to their personal productivity.
  • Productivity Enhancers: 9% of American adults happily get a lot of things done with information technology, both at home and at work.
  • Mobile Centrics: 10% of the general population are strongly attached to their cell phones and take advantage of a range of mobile applications.
  • Connected but Hassled: 9% of American adults fit into this group. They have invested in a lot of technology, but the connectivity is a hassle for them.
  • Inexperienced Experimenters: 8% of adults have less ICT on hand than others. They feel competent in dealing with technology, and might do more with it if they had more.
  • Light but Satisfied: 15% of adults have the basics of information technology, use it infrequently and it does not register as an important part of their lives.
  • Indifferents: 11% of adults have a fair amount of technology on hand, but it does not play a central role in their daily lives.
  • Off the Net: 15% of the population, mainly older Americans, is off the modern information network.

About Jim Kalbach

Head of Customer Experience at MURAL

One comment

  1. Tom

    A few weeks ago I experienced a challenging conversation with my boss around my “grasp of details”. I found this more interesting than painful, in that a command of tacit often immaterial details struck me as not what what I’ve been hired to do. Still, it is something he wanted so I delivered. In the end, however, a larger issue presented itself, i.e. the time constraint on the consumption of information. It simply takes longer to consume, say a dollars worth of information than a dollars worth of food. What are we to do?

    Hence my question: what work is being done and where regarding the human constraints in consuming information?

    Seems that this site is a GREAT starting point on my pursuit of research and understanding into how we can improve human consumption of information.


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