Posts Tagged ‘Pew Internet in American Life Project’
Friday, May 18th, 2012
By Allan Maurer
Way back in the late 1980s, I wrote an article for Science Digest magazine about the US Army’s use of video games to train tank crews and gunners. Since then, “gamification,” the use of game-like elements in education, training, marketing, wellness and even scientific discovery, has advanced steadily.
You’re likely to see more and more use of “gamification” in the digital world, a new survey by the Pew Internet in American Life Project suggests.
Gamification is interactive digital design that brings out a user’s competitive instincts and often uses rewards such as points, payments, badges, discounts and achievement status to drive action.
Gamification is one of the top trends for 2012, according to Deloitte, and Gartner predicts that 50 percent of corporate innovation will be “gamified” by 2015, the Pew report notes.
Serious gaming becoming embedded in every day life
Gartner says, “Serious gaming simulations and game mechanics such as leaderboards, achievements, and skill-based learning are becoming embedded in day-to-day business processes, driving adoption, performance, and engagement.”
Digital games generated $25 billion in sales in 2010, and their popularity is considered to be a driver of the adoption of elements of gamification in many Internet pursuits.
A primary driver, says the Pew study, ” is the rapid uptake of social networks, now used by 70% of American Internet users, where reward and status elements are embedded in implicit and explicit forms in people’s interactions in their engagement in online communities. Game elements and competition are interspersed throughout the platforms that have made social networks like Facebook and Twitter popular.”
Gamification helps solve scientific riddles
It also points out that Gamification is not just about status, community building, and marketing. Game-like approaches to education and problem-solving are rolling out in new ways. To cite one prominent example, researchers at the University of Washington made headlines in 2011 with their game Foldit.
It generated a crowd-sourced discovery of the mystery of how a key protein may help cure HIV. The game drew 46,000 participants whose gameplay took just 10 days to solve a problem scientists had been working on for 15 years.
Similarly, over at the Galaxy Zoo, you can help scientists classify galaxies – something the human eye does better than computers – as they explore the universe via the Hubble telescope.
Non-digital and digital real-world games based on scenarios and problem-solving have been around for a while, but it wasn’t until recent years that the label “serious game” was applied to this type of activity.
Wide range of uses for “serious games”
Pew notes that a “serious gaming” movement has arisen to apply gaming techniques to such realms as military and corporate and first-responder training programs, civilization and environmental ecology simulations, K-12 educational programs on subjects like math and history and the sciences, news events and public policy campaigns, problem-solving strategies in the natural sciences, and even physical exercise programs.
Universities such as NC State even offer courses in “serious games.”
Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center asked a highly engaged set of respondants if the use of gamification, game mechanics, feedback loops, and rewards to spur interaction and boost engagement, buy-in, loyalty, fun, and/or learning continue to gain ground and be implemented in many new ways in people’s digital lives between now and 2020?
More than half (53 percent) believe that by 2020, there will have been significant advances in the adoption and use of gamification. It will be making waves on the communications scene and will have been implemented in many new ways for education, health, work, and other aspects of human connection and it will play a role in the everyday activities of many of the people who are actively using communications networks in their daily lives.
However, 42 percent think that while game use and game-like structures will remain an important segment of the communications scene and will have been adopted in new ways, the gamification of other aspects of communications will not really have advanced much beyond being an interesting development implemented occasionally by some segments of the population in some circumstances.
Some of the responses Pew received include:
“People will increasingly expect game elements in a wide range of activities. Game-development tools will enable most people to gamify many aspects of life and work, in digital, physical, and blended environments.” – Cathy Cavanaugh, associate professor of educational technology, University of Florida.
“The development of ‘serious games’ applied productively to a wide scope of human activities will accelerate simply because playing is more fun than working.” –Mike Liebhold, senior researcher and distinguished fellow at The Institute for the Future.
Not everyone thinks gamification has a rosy future, however:
“For all of the reasons that critics of game theory have identified over the years regarding its inability to capture the full range of human motivations, perceptions, cognitions, and practices, I believe there will be efforts to gamify much of what we do, but that much of that will just come and go as fads.” – Sandra Braman, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an expert on information policy.
For the complete report see: Pew Gamification survey
Monday, May 7th, 2012
Do you use your mobile phone to seek real-time information such as looking up sports scores, seeking traffic or transit info, or coordinate meetings?
More and more, cell phones, smart phones and other mobile devices are coming out of pockets and purses to find real-time information or help solve a problem, resolve and argument, or decide where to have lunch.
The mobile device user’s ability to access data immediately through apps and web browsers and through contact with their social networks is creating a new culture of real-time information seekers and problem solvers, says a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.
The project has documentedsome of the ways that people perform just-in-time services with their cell phones.
Some 70% of all cell phone owners and 86% of smartphone owners have used their phones in the previous 30 days to perform at least one of the following activities:
- Coordinate a meeting or get-together — 41% of cell phone owners have done this in the past 30 days.
- Solve an unexpected problem that they or someone else had encountered — 35% have used their phones to do this in the past 30 days.
- Decide whether to visit a business, such as a restaurant — 30% have used their phone to do this in the past 30 days.
- Find information to help settle an argument they were having — 27% haveused their phone to get information for that reason in the past 30 days.
- Look up a score of a sporting event — 23% have used their phone to do that in the past 30 days.
- Get up-to-the-minute traffic or public transit information to find the fastest way to get somewhere — 20% have used their phone to get that kind of information in the past 30 days.
- Get help in an emergency situation — 19% have used their phone to do that in the past 30 days.
Overall, these “just-in-time” cell users—defined as anyone who has done one or more of the above activities using their phone in the preceding 30 days—amount to 62% of the entire adult population.
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Within the next decade, smart-device swiping will have gained mainstream acceptance as a method of payment and could largely replace cash and credit cards for most online and in-store purchases by smartphone and tablet owners, according to a new survey of technology experts and stakeholders.
Many of the people surveyed by Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project said that the security, convenience and other benefits of “mobile wallet” systems will lead to widespread adoption of these technologies for everyday purchases by 2020.
Others—including some who are generally positive about the future of mobile payments—expect this process to unfold relatively slowly due to a combination of privacy fears, a desire for anonymous payments, demographic inertia, a lack of infrastructure to support widespread adoption, and resistance from those with a financial stake in the existing payment structure.
Here at the TechJournal, we recently interviewed an e-commerce expert for a top firm and he said once mobile payments are the norm, digital commerce will explode. So this is probably the next crucial step in the increasingly important world of e-commerce and mobile commerce.
As always with these Pew reports, the full text is worth reading. Here are a few excerpts:
A number of financial services and technology firms have set their sights on integrating mobile devices into the broader, multi-trillion-dollar retail economy. As a result, the infrastructure and tools for safe, reliable mobile purchasing has been advancing rapidly in recent years.
These mobile payment and transaction solutions currently take a number of forms. Some allow merchants and businesses to accept “on the go” credit card payments from customers using a special card reader that plugs into a smartphone or tablet computer.
Others facilitate direct person-to-person financial transfers using mobile devices—either by physically touching phones or exchanging electronic credentials such as a phone number or email address.
Other solutions go even further, placing mobile phones at the center of users’ financial lives as an all-in-one payment device, identification system, coupon book and financial planner. In late 2011, Google launched Google Wallet in partnership with Citibank and MasterCard. Based on a technology known as near-field communication (NFC), Google Wallet allows users to store payment information in the cloud and pay for goods at participating retailers by tapping their phone at the point of purchase.
Another consortium (including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Visa, American Express, Discover and MasterCard) will be piloting a similar NFC-based mobile payment system known as ISIS starting in select cities in mid-2012. PayPal and Visa have also announced plans for mobile wallet systems, and many analysts predict that Apple will announce its own virtual wallet service in the near future.
Friday, April 13th, 2012
Nearly three quarters of American adults (72%) say they follow local news closely “most of the time, whether or not something important is happening.”
On the whole, these local news enthusiasts are more wedded to their newspapers than others, relying on them for much of their local news and a full third (32%) feeling it would have a major impact on their ability to get the information they want if their local paper vanished.
Yet, younger local news followers differ from their older counterparts in some important ways, including less reliance on local papers, potentially signaling changes to come in the local news environment.
As a group, local news enthusiasts are more likely than others to prefer newspapers for almost all of 16 topics asked about in the survey—including crime, local politics, community events, arts and culture, local schools, taxes, government activity, restaurants, other local business, housing issues, job openings, and local zoning issues.
While this seems to be positive news for local newspapers, in many cases the reliance on newspapers is heaviest among local news enthusiasts age 40 and older, while younger local news followers rely more heavily on other sources.
Internet preferred by under 40 demographic
\Specifically, among local news enthusiasts under age 40, the internet is the preferred source for eight of the 16 topics asked about, including:
- · Local restaurants, clubs and bars
- · Other local businesses
- · Schools and education
- · Local politics
- · Jobs
- · Housing
- · Arts and cultural events
- · Community or neighborhood events
These are among the main findings in a January 2011 nationally-representative phone survey of 2,251 adults by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project, produced in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
“On one hand, the study shows a continuing reliance on local newspapers among a substantial group of adults who like to know what’s happening in their community,” said Kristen Purcell, Pew Internet associate director for research and one of the authors of the report. “Yet equally important is the fact that for younger adults who like to stay tuned in to their communities, the local newspaper is generally not the go-to source.”
The study shows that younger local news enthusiasts rely on a wider variety of sources for their local news each week than their older counterparts, and are much more likely to use a combination of traditional, online and mobile sources to get news and information about their community.
“The youngest local news consumers have more tools in their local news toolkit,” notes Carolyn Miller, a research consultant who co-authored the report. “They rely on a wider range of sources than older local news consumers, including mobile, social networking sites, search engines, and the websites of local newspapers and television stations.”
Other key findings in the report:
- · Overall, local news enthusiasts skew female, older, African-American, and politically conservative when compared with other adults.
- · While older local news enthusiasts are particularly likely to follow weather, politics, crime, traffic, taxes, local government activity, social services and zoning, younger local news followers are more likely to consume information about job openings and local restaurants, bars and clubs.
- · Local news enthusiasts age 18-39 are much more digitally connected than both older local news enthusiasts and adults who do not follow local news closely, using the internet, cell phones, social networking sites, Twitter, and geolocation services at higher rates than these other groups.
- · Younger local news enthusiasts are also significantly more likely to participate in the digital local news environment, engaging in activities such as sharing links to local news stories, commenting on local news pieces, and posting local news on social networking sites.
Thursday, March 1st, 2012
Nearly half (46%) of American adults are smartphone owners as of February 2012, an increase of 11 percentage points over the 35% of Americans who owned a smartphone last May.
- 45% of cell owners say that their phone is a smartphone, up from 33% in May 2011
- 49% of cell owners say that their phone operates on a smartphone platformcommon to the US market, up from 39% in May 2011
Taken together, just over half of cell owners (53%) said yes to one or both of these questions and are classified as smartphone owners. Since 88% of US adults are now cell phone owners, that means that a total of 46% of all American adults are smartphone users.
Two in five adults (41%) own a cell phone that is not a smartphone, meaning that smartphone owners are now more prevalent within the overall population than owners of more basic mobile phones.
As smartphone ownership has grown over the last year, there has been a corresponding shift in the specific types of phones that Americans report owning:
- 20% of cell owners now describe their phone as an Android device, up from 15% in May 2011
- 19% of cell owners now describe their phone as an iPhone, up from 10% in May 2011
- 6% of cell owners now describe the phone as a Blackberry, down from 10% in May 2011
The proportion of cell owners describing their phone as a Windows (2%) or Palm (1%) device is unchanged since the last time we asked this question in May 2011.
Smartphone ownership has increased across a wide range of demographic groups
Nearly every major demographic group—men and women, younger and middle-aged adults, urban and rural residents, the wealthy and the less well-off—experienced a notable uptick in smartphone penetration over the last year, and overall adoption levels are at 60% or more within several cohorts, such as college graduates, 18-35 year olds and those with an annual household income of $75,000 or more.
Although this overall increase in smartphone ownership is relatively wide-spread, several groups saw modest or non-existent growth in the last year. Chief among these are seniors, as just 13% of those ages 65 and older now own a smartphone.
This is far below the national average of 46%, and is largely unchanged from the 11% of seniors who were classified as smartphone owners in 2011. Similarly, smartphone adoption among those without a high school diploma grew by a relatively modest seven percentage points over the last year, and overall adoption rates for this group continue to be roughly half of the national average (25% of those without a high school diploma currently are smartphone owners).
African-Americans and Latinos also exhibited modest changes in smartphone adoption between our 2011 and 2012 surveys. However, in contrast to those groups, both African-Americans and Latinos have overall adoption rates that are comparable to the national average for all Americans (smartphone penetration is 49% in each case, just higher than the national average of 46%).
As we found in our previous study of smartphone adoption, young adults tend to have higher-than-average levels of smartphone ownership regardless of income or educational attainment, while for older adults smartphone ownership tends to be relatively uncommon across the board—but especially so for less educated and affluent seniors.
Among 18-29 year olds there is a 14-point difference in smartphone ownership rates between those earning less than $30,000 per year and those earning more than $30,000 per year (and smartphone ownership even among lower-income young adults is well above the national average).
By contract, for those 65 and older, there is a 22-point difference between these income cohorts (and just 5% of low-income seniors are smartphone users).
Similarly, smartphone ownership decreases dramatically with age even among adults with similar levels of education. However, younger adults with a high school diploma or less are significantly more likely to own a smartphone than even those seniors who have attended college.
Friday, February 3rd, 2012
Facebook gives average users an incredible opportunity to reach a mass audience, according to the latest study by the Pew Internet in American Life Project. It says the average user can reach up to 150,000, and a median user can connect to 31,000 others.
It also found that most Facebook users receive more from their Facebook friends than they give, according to a new study that for the first time combines server logs of Facebook activity with survey data to explore the structure of Facebook friendship networks and measures of social well-being.
These data were then matched with survey responses. And the new findings show that over a one-month period:
- 40% of Facebook users in our sample made a friend request, but 63% received at least one request
- Users in our sample pressed the like button next to friends’ content an average of 14 times, but had their content “liked” an average of 20 times
- Users sent 9 personal messages, but received 12
- 12% of users tagged a friend in a photo, but 35% were themselves tagged in a photo
“The explanation for this pattern is fascinating for a couple of reasons,” noted Prof. Keith Hampton, the lead author of the Pew Internet report, Why most Facebook users get more than they give.
“First, it turns out there are segments of Facebook power users who contribute much more content than the typical user. Most Facebook users are moderately active over a one-month time period, so highly active power users skew the average.
Second, these power users constitute about 20%-30% of Facebook users, but the striking thing is that there are different power users depending on the activity in question.
One group of power users dominates friending activity. Another dominates ‘liking’ activity. And yet another dominates photo tagging.”
- Women do more status updates than men.
- Users average 7 new friends a month
- Few people unfriend from feeds
- There is little evidence of Facebook fatigue
- Facebook users can reach an average of more than 150,000 Facebook users through their Facebook friends; the median user can reach about 31,000 others.
- Tagging Facebook friends in photos is associated with knowing more people from diverse backgrounds and having more close relationships – off of Facebook.
- A wide range of activities on Facebook are associated with attending political meetings.
- Those who participate in Facebook groups are more likely to try to persuade someone to vote for a specific candidate
The full study offers details.
Monday, January 23rd, 2012
At $199, we think the Kindle Fire is a good buy for the money
Did you receive a new tablet computer or an e-reader over the holidays? As Amazon introduced its Kindle Fire tablet, selling it at a slight loss, Barnes & Noble offered the competing Nook, and the iPad remained popular, the way we read and consumer media is changing.
The share of adults in the United States who own tablet computers nearly doubled from 10% to 19% between mid-December and early January and the same surge in growth also applied to e-book readers, which also jumped from 10% to 19% over the same time period.
The number of Americans owning at least one of these digital reading devices jumped from 18% in December to 29% in January.
These findings are striking because they come after a period from mid-2011 into the autumn in which there was not much change in the ownership of tablets and e-book readers.
However, as the holiday gift-giving season approached the marketplace for both devices dramatically shifted.
In the tablet world, Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble’s Nook Tablet were introduced at considerably cheaper prices than other tablets. In the e-book reader world, some versions of the Kindle and Nook and other readers fell well below $100.
We bought our Kindle Fire in November. It’s a great Internet surfing device, especially using the Pulse app, which arranges stories from Web sites you choose in menu bars with photos. It’s also handy for checking (though not answering) email, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Tumblr didn’t work so well for us.
Apps also make it an Internet radio, where we access favorite stations such as the French Classic and Jazz station, NPR feeds, and Pandora. We continue to prefer our regular e-ink Kindle for longer periods of reading. But overall, we think something a revolution in the way we play games, consumer media and read is well underway.
These results come from ongoing surveys by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project aimed at tracking growth in the ownership of both devices. A pre-holiday survey was conducted among 2,986 people age 16 and older between November 16 and December 21, 2011 and has a margin of error of +/- two percentage points.
The post-holiday data come from the combined results of two surveys – one conducted January 5-8 among 1,000 adults age 18 and older and another conducted January 12-15 of 1,008 adults. The combined surveys have a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.
The surge in ownership of tablet computers was especially notable among those with higher levels of education and those living in households earning more than $75,000. More than a third of those living in households earning more than $75,000 (36%) now own a tablet computer. And almost a third of those with college educations or higher (31%) own the devices. Additionally, those under age 50 saw a particularly significant leap in tablet ownership.
The story with the growth in e-book readers was somewhat different from the story with tablet computers. Ownership of e-readers among women grew more than among men. Those with more education and higher incomes also lead the pack when it comes to e-book ownership, but the gap between them and others isn’t as dramatic. For instance, 19% of those in households earning $30,000-$50,000 have e-book readers. They are 12 percentage points behind those in households earning $75,000 or more in e-book reader ownership. The gap between those income levels on tablet ownership is 20 percentage points.
The Pew Internet Project is studying the ownership of both devices as part of its effort to understand how people consume media (text, video, and audio) on the devices, how people use them to access the internet, and how mobile connectivity has affected users.
This is part of the Project’s larger research agenda supported by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to look at how these devices are affecting people’s relationship with their local libraries, the services those libraries offer, and the general role of libraries in communities.
The pre-holiday survey conducted by the Project contained an oversample of owners of tablet computers and e-book readers. They were asked about their reading habits and their interactions with their libraries related to e-books and other digital content. The results of those findings will be contained in a report that will be released in the coming weeks.
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
A Kindle Fire tablet computer
The average American in 2004 spent about six minutes per day reading news online. Today that number has jumped to nearly 15 minutes. Factoring in phones, social networks, email and podcasts, more than 44 percent of Americans said they regularly get news from a digital source. With the advent of popular tablet computers and ereaders, that trend is only likely to accelerate.
The result? Advertising, like readers is moving to digital media.
A new infographic from NewsGroup4.com examined the slide newspapers have taken the last few years as print journalists struggle to keep readers.
Monday, September 19th, 2011
Some 83% of American adults own cell phones and three-quarters of them (73%) send and receive text messages. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project asked those texters in a survey how they prefer to be contacted on their cell phone and 31% said they preferred texts to talking on the phone, while 53% said they preferred a voice call to a text message. Another 14% said the contact method they prefer depends on the situation.
Heavy text users are much more likely to prefer texting to talking. Some 55% of those who exchange more than 50 messages a day say they would rather get a text than a voice call.
Young adults most avid texters
Young adults are the most avid texters by a wide margin. Cell owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day—that works out to more than 3,200 texts per month—and the typical or median cell owner in this age group sends or receives 50 messages per day (or 1500 messages per month).
Personally, we’ve noticed that some of our younger friends are nearly unobtainable through traditional means such as leaving a phone message and at times even email – if you don’t text them, they don’t respond.
Overall, the survey found that both text messaging and phone calling on cell phones have leveled off for the adult population as a whole. Text messaging users send or receive an average of 41.5 messages on a typical day, with the median user sending or receiving 10 texts daily – both figures are largely unchanged from what we reported in 2010. Similarly, cell owners make or receive an average of 12 calls on their cells per day, which is unchanged from 2010.
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
By Allan Maurer
Not many tech products or services target the low income consumers, although it is a large and growing segment of the U.S. population. But says Ken Eisner, vice president for Policy and New Business Development at One Economy Corp., there are a number of reasons why the smartphone and app development industry should focus on that group.
Eisner plans to elaborate on this idea at the upcoming Digital East Conference at Tysons Corner, VA, Sept. 28-29.
For one thing, Eisner points out, “Some of these populations are expanding the use of a smartphone as their primary way to access the Internet.”
He notes that a recent Pew Internet study showed that 87 percent of African Americans and Latinos own smart or featurephones and are more likely to take advantage of a wide array of phone data functions. They send as many as 200 more text messages a month than whites consumers, for instance.
Maximize profits while doing social good
Corporations could maximize profits while doing social good by targeting these lower income groups, Eisner says. But right now, “There is no focus on this group. There is no pricing oriented to them. And there are not enough apps developed for it.
“Look at app stores, you’ll see things created specifically for this group. Apps to monitor diabetes medication, or how long you have to wait in line for a government servcie, or how to file for earned income credits. But too few are developed. Most developers in Silicon Valley don’t have much contact with this group. They have no knowledge of the need. They have the notion there are no business models to be built around it.”
To help remedy that situation, One Economy has developed the concept of apps for social good, with a focus on apps for health, education and civic participation created especially for this group, Eisner says.
In June, the company and AT&T disclosed winners of its first App for Good contest. The grand prize winner was Brendan McBride and his colleagues from New York City, for their application “Remás.” The team received $10,000 to continue the development of their “app” that enables users to find the lowest cost overseas money transfer option closest to their location.
Other winners and their prizes include:
• Ysiad Ferreiras won the $5,000 Health prize for his application, SnapFresh,
which helps food stamp recipients find healthy places that accept Supplemental
Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) payments (formally known as food
• David Simnick and Daniel Doll won the $5,000 Education prize for their webbased
application, TalkChalk, which leverages the power of social gaming and
networking and applies it to how students learn.
• Nick Jacobsen won the $5,000 Banking prize for his application, MobileSaver,
which is a mobile web portal for the management of an Individual Development
• Robert Hellestrae won the $4,000 Gaming prize for his app, Nutrition Missions,
which introducers users to delicious, nutrient dense foods by completing steps of
varying difficulty through fun and healthy “missions.”
Others opportunities for marketing to the low income group would be apps around the jobs market, considering the current unemployment situation, says Eisner. “There is also a great opportunity on the banking side,” he adds. “Sometimes we need to take our cues from abroad, where mobile banking and mobile payements became a fantastic business.
Eisner plans to go into more detail about how to approach this group at Digital East.
“From the One Economy viewpoint, it’s better to hit some true needs (with smartphone app development). Instead of just looking at the top of the pyramid, try to solve bigger problems such as those banking and mobile payment issues or new forms of communication that focus funds at the lower end.”
Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
You have probably read or heard about findings from one or more of the ongoing Pew Internet in American Life Project’s surveys on how we use the Internet and mobile media. Now, you can let Pew’s researchers know what you think in this year’s “Future of the Internet” survey.
The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center are conducting an ongoing conversation about the likely future evolution of the Internet. This year’s new questions are tied to eight intriguing issues about the Internet and the potential future of education, money, our homes, and more.
Take the survey
This is a confidential survey. However, Pew encourages you to take credit for your thoughts if possible, as it lends much more credibility to the results and contributes to a more vibrant conversation.
If you know any thought leaders you believe would benefit from participating, we invite you to forward this invitation or simply share the survey address with them.
The Pew Internet Project and Imagining the Internet will issue a series of reports based on this survey starting around the turn of the year. Material from this survey will be added to the Elon University/Pew Internet site, Imagining the Internet . We will not use your personal information for any purpose other than this project. If you have any questions, please contact one of us.
This year’s new survey question set is the fifth in a series. Previous surveys
Most Popular Stories on TechJournal