Trylon Communications  - November 2004
       

Celebrating the Internet's First Decade

The “Center for the Digital Future” has determined 10 major Internet trends to mark the Web’s 10th anniversary as a public phenomenon:

  • “The Digital Divide” in the U.S. is closing, but not yet gone. And a new type of divide is emerging. Once defined simply as those who have Internet vs. those who do not, the divide is now between broadband users and dial-up users – those with broadband use the Internet more often and for a wider variety of needs.

  • Broadband is beginning a whole new Internet revolution. It is changing Americans’ relationship with the Internet—how often they go online, how long they stay online and what they do online.

  • For more than 50 years, Americans spent the majority of their free time watching television. But the more experience they have with the Internet, the less they watch TV.

  • The Internet’s credibility is dropping. Most users only trust information received from regularly visited Web sites and pages created by established media and government groups. Users do not usually trust information on sites run by individuals.

  • Fear of online shopping is fading - while Americans are still concerned about credit card security, the intensity of the concern is less.

  • The Internet’s perception as a place for Geeks and Nerds is dead. Rather than the Web negatively impacting time spent interacting with other people, Internet users are more socially active than non-users and less alienated from others. Because of email and instant messaging, the Internet has become another tool to build relationships.

  • While the credit card security issue is less worrisome, Americans are more concerned about the threat of identity theft when they explore the Internet.

  • The Internet has become the number one source of information for its users - the primary place they go for research, general information, entertainment listings, and information on hobbies, travel, health and investments.

  • Children’s use of the Internet is a big concern. The Web opens a whole new world to children with unknown, and often-dangerous, ramifications.

  • Email remains the single most important reason Americans go online. Americans find email a wonderful convenience. It offers a way to communicate more often with a much broader circle of people than was possible with telephone or regular mail.

The study also ranked the 10 most popular Internet activities: email, instant messaging, Web surfing, reading news, hobby searches, entertainment searches, shopping and buying, medical information, travel information searches, tracking credit cards, and playing games.

After a decade of observation, “The Center of the Digital Future” has shown that the Internet is still changing the way Americans spend their time, get information and communicate. A nation that previously spent an extreme amount of time engaged in a passive activity (watching TV) is transferring more and more portions of that time to an interactive activity (the Internet). Americans are spending on average 12.5 hours per week on the Internet - communicating, looking for information, and searching for services, products or ideas.