The Web At 25: Just Try To Imagine Life Without It

March 10, 2014

“The overall verdict: The internet has been a plus for society and an especially good thing for individual users.”

That sweeping generalization that imparts no new knowledge comes courtesy of the diligent data hounds at the Pew Research Project, who’ve unveiled a report titled “The Web at 25 in the U.S.

It’s chock full of data that basically just puts specific numbers to what many would regard as common knowledge, such as:

  • The percentage of adults who use the Internet has increased to 87 percent in 2014 from 14 percent in 1995
  • 90 percent of Internet users say the Internet has been “a good thing” for them
  • Younger Internet users (ages 18-29) are more likely to have been treated unkindly or attacked online (44 percent) compared to older users (ranging from 12 percent to 21 percent)

But among the seemingly obvious you’ll find some truly intriguing findings, such as Pew’s exploration of how difficult people believe it would be to give up various technologies. Pew asked about the perceived difficulty of giving up the Internet, your cell phone, email, your TV, your landline phone and social media.

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Not surprising: Giving up the Internet is deemed to be the most difficult, even more difficult than giving up your cell phone. That makes sense, as so much of the power of a cell phone — particularly a smart phone — comes from its Internet connection.

Kind of surprising, kind of not: Social media is regarded as the least-difficult thing to give up. We’ve all heard friends and colleagues either threaten to give up certain facets of social media — or actually do it.

Very surprising: Although it’s not a shock that social media are deemed easy to give up, it’s stunning that people would find it easier to dump social media than a land line telephone!