20 Percent of Adult Americans Don’t Use the Internet

internet_mapI have a friend that hates the Internet. She cringes when the words “Facebook” or “Google” even come up. She’s been on only a couple of times – but otherwise I’ll get a call asking to print off some document she needs.

Even though more homes are investing in broadband Internet, the New York Times reports roughly 20 percent of American adults do not use the Internet at home, work or via mobile. Some are by choice, yet others do not have the money for this amenity.

76% of white American households and 57% of African-American households use the Internet. Approximately 50% of people 65 and older go online, while 75% under 65 use the Internet.

Average home Internet costs are around $30 a month.

Could You Live Without Internet for a Day? A Year, Perhaps?

Back in April, one man decided to go off-line for one year to see how he would fair. Paul Miller chronicled his life for the 365 days without an Internet connection. A very eye-opening article that makes you think about how different you might live.

Of course, that is Internet and not technology in general. It sounded like Paul still had a cell phone and used other technology to commute, eat, drink and get by.

I think back to around 1994, when I didn’t have a cell phone and I was on the Internet ever so sparsely. I had a university email address at that time and the University library was where I connected up. I spent more time building other things – I was a music major, so I also practiced a lot.

If that was to go away, I believe I could survive. I definitely would have to figure out a new path in life from podcaster/blogger.

What would you do if you went off-line for a year? Read more? Build projects? Let us know!

Most Americans Aren’t Tech Hip

Americans seem to be in love with their high-tech gadget. Cell phones with customized ring tones, personal digital assistants with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking, high-speed broadband Internet connections, and software applications that provide greater processing power and accuracy than our parents ever dreamed about are available to us 24 hours a day, 365.242199 days a year.

But for all the hype about technological gadgets, most of us in the United States aren’t hip. According to a reported released today by the Pew Internet and American Life Project less than a third of Americans are high-end technology adopters. For this small group of Americans technology comes first. They’re willing to disconnect their wired telephones in favor of wireless cell phones; e-mail may be their principle communication tool; and the Internet defines their news and entertainment sources.

The Pew report is enlightening from many perspectives. For me, I was shocked to read how few Americans value technology as tool for maintaining communication.

Dave’s Opinion
One of the greatest social changes I’ve witnessed in the last two decades is the ready acceptance of and consequent dependence on computer-based technology. It seems to me that many Americans have the latest electronic gadget, whether it’s a cell phone that can e-mail color photographs or an MP3 CD player that plays continues music for over eight hours, never repeating a song. Me, I’m partial to PDA technology. I can’t remember my appointments, client phone numbers, or passwords; without my handheld digital computer, I’d have to return to carrying my leather portfolio wherever I go (and that can’t hang from my belt).

Call for Comments
What do you think? Leave your comments below.

References
Pew Internet & American Life Project