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Center for the Digital Future Identifies the 10 Major Trends Emerging in the Internet’s First Decade of Public Use

:: The USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future has completed a study of the impact of online technology (note – 105p pdf document), specifically how the Internet affects America. I don’t know of an equivalent study underway in Canada. From the press release, among the findings from Year Four of the Digital Future

-Internet access has risen to its highest level ever. About three-quarters of Americans now go online.
– The number of hours spent online continues to increase, rising to an average of 12.5 hours per week – the highest level in the study thus far.
– Although the Internet has become the most important source of current information for users, the initially high level of credibility of information on the Internet began to drop in the third year of the study, and declined even further in Year Four.
– The number of users who believe that only about half of the information on the Internet is accurate and reliable is growing and has now passed 40 percent of users for the first time.
– The study showed that most users trust information on the websites they visit regularly, and on pages created by established media and the government.
– Information pages posted by individuals have the lowest credibility: only 9.5 percent of users say information on those sites is reliable and accurate.
– Television viewing continues to decline among Internet users, raising the question: “What will happen as a nation that once spent an extremely large portion of time in a passive activity (watching television) transfers increasingly large portions of that time to an interactive activity (the Internet)?”

Here are the top ten trends identified by the Center:

  1. In America, The Digital Divide Is Closing, But Is Not Yet Closed As New Divides Emerge
  2. The Media Habits Of The Nation Have Changed, And Continue To Change
  3. The Credibility Of The Internet Is Dropping
  4. We Have Just Begun to See the Changes to Come in Buying Online
  5. The “Geek-Nerd” Perception Of The Internet Is Dead
  6. Privacy And Security: Concerns Remain, But The High Levels Are Changing
  7. The Internet Has Become The Number One Source For Information For Internet Users
  8. The Benefits – and Drawbacks – Of The Internet For Children Are Still Coming Into Focus
  9. E-mail: “E-Nuff” Already?
  10. Broadband Will Change Everything – Again

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