One In Five Homes Not Likely To Twitter, Podcast Anytime Soon

May 19th, 2008 | By | Category: Commentary, General

If you’ve ever wondered why technologies popular with first adopters, like podcasting or Twitter, are adopted more slowly by general users, you don’t have to look much further than the latest research from Parks Associates.

They found that roughly one-fifth of all U.S. heads-of-household have never used e-mail.

Their annual phone survey of U.S. households found 20 million households, about 18% of all US households, are without Internet access. That’s about 55 million people in the US that don’t have Internet access at home.

It’s easy to lose site of this world, if you’ve been on the Internet for 10 year or if you’ve grown up using the Internet. To those without Internet access, getting your news from the Web, texting people around the world or creating and sharing your own Internet media are foreign.

“Nearly one out of three household heads has never used a computer to create a document,” said John Barrett, director, research, Parks Associates. “These data underscore the significant digital divide between the connected majority and the homes in the unconnected minority that rarely, if ever, use a computer.

Here are the details:

“Internet connections have slowly increased in U.S. households, but getting the disconnected minority online will continue to be difficult,” Barrett said. “Age and economics are important factors, but the heart of the challenge is deeper. Many people just don’t see a reason to use computers and do not associate technology with the needs and demands of their daily lives.”

Age and education are factors in this divide. One-half of those who have never used e-mail are over 65, and 56 percent had no schooling beyond high school.

National Technology Scan found just seven percent of the 20 million “disconnected” homes plan to subscribe to an Internet service within the next 12 months. Still, the study reports a steady decline in the number of disconnected households when comparing findings with previous years. National Technology Scan reported at year-end 2006 that 29 percent of all U.S. households (31 million homes) did not have Internet access, citing low perceived value of the Internet

National Technology Scan provides an accurate picture of current adoption levels, demand, and the total available market for technology products and services in the U.S. The study provides comparative analysis with past adoption levels and overall trending patterns for strategic planning and forecasts of sales and revenues for product lines and services.


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2 Responses to “One In Five Homes Not Likely To Twitter, Podcast Anytime Soon”

  1. Ed Roberts says:

    I’ve always found it interesting when these types of studies come out. To me, it’s not news. The digital divide still exists. But too many people believe that it’s gone, especially those that have grown up with computers.

    Liken it to the tech podcasts declaring that podcasting was starting to dwindle, only because their listenership peaked or was falling. In reality, it’s been growing. Those fish-bowl walls can be rather opaque to some people.

  2. James Lewin says:


    You make a good point. This sort of thing is important, though, to keep in mind because a lot of podcaster are creating content that may be of interest to people that are just not likely podcast users at this time.

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