Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pew Internet report on Generational Use

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has just released its latest report which surveys generational use among internet users (Generations Online in 2009). Briefly:

Teens and Generation Y (internet users age 18-32) are the most likely groups
to use the internet for entertainment and for communicating with friends and
family. These younger generations are significantly more likely than their
older counterparts to seek entertainment through online videos, online games,
and virtual worlds, and they are also more likely to download music to listen
to later. Internet users ages 12-32 are more likely than older users to read
other people's blogs and to write their own; they are also considerably more
likely than older generations to use social networking sites and to create
profiles on those sites.

Compared with teens and Generation Y, older generations use the internet less
for socializing and entertainment and more as a tool for information searches,
emailing, and buying products. In particular, older internet users are
significantly more likely than younger generations to look online for health
information. Health questions drive internet users age 73 and older to the
internet just as frequently as they drive Generation Y users, outpacing teens
by a significant margin. Researching health information is the third most
popular online activity with the most senior age group, after email and online
I would guess that not many librarians are part of the survey groups since we all know that librarians are usually on the cutting edge of many of the new technologies. As is evidenced by several of our recent programs at our Spring Institutes and Annual Meetings, ALLUNY certainly has quite a few members who are actively involved in the various forms of communication mentioned above. And I would hazard a guess that our average age is probably considered part of the Boomer generation.

Not only do we have a presence on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and Second Life, some of us have the latest gadgets be they MP3 players, iPods, Blackberries, or iPhones (does anyone have a Kindle yet?). Still others follow many blogs and engage in podcasting.
Exciting times and we as a group - as well as individuals - are not only ahead of the curve but embracing the new technologies as fast as we can get them.


  1. Texting seems to be one of the generational gaps that I haven't leapt, myself. I wonder if more librarians have adapted to texting than have others of their gen?

  2. It is probably done more by those with offspring. I do it occasionally but prefer typing on a full keypad. But I would rather email or "chat". And nothing beats a nice lengthy phone call. :-)

  3. Don't get a Kindle. Get an iPhone or iPod touch instead. Either one is multi-use (whereas a Kindle is only a reader). The free app STANZA lets you down load texts from the Gutenberg project and/or you can subscribe to