The Pew Internet and American Life Project released a survey collecting expert opinions on one a hot new(-ish) concept amongst the Silicon Valley digerati: gamification. The survey offers some interesting insights and features commentary from folks like danah boyd, Clay Shirky, Jeff Jarvis, and Amber Case; it also cites me a bit talking playbor (play + labor) and weisure (work + leisure).
The survey shows that tech commentators are split on whether gamification is destined to become an ubiquitous feature of the Web (53% agree, 42% disagree). The subtext of these sorts of conversations—given that tech commentators overwhelmingly have backgrounds in business—is: How can we use gamification to make a killing. We shouldn’t be to suprised about all the excitement from those invested in the tech industry. After all, gamification is all about getting people to view labor (i.e., the production if value) as play. And, if workers don’t view work as work, they may just do it for free.
Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a new set of rules regarding how Internet service provides (ISPs) must treat the data they transfer to individual Internet users. The rules have been pitched as a compromise between the interests of two industries: On the one hand, content providers like Google, Facebook, or Amazon tend to favor the concept of “net neutrality,” which holds that all types of data should be transferred at the same speed and, ostensibly, creates an even playing field where start-ups can compete with industry titans. On the other hand, ISPs like Verizon and Comcast want to charge for a “fast lane” that would bring content to consumers more rapidly from some (paying) sites than from other (non-paying) sites. (A more extreme possibility is that ISPs would completely block certain sites that do not pay a fee).
The crux of compromise is that the new net neutrality rules will only apply to wired connections, leaving mobile connections virtually unregulated. (more…)
We frequently discuss how young people (i.e., “digital natives”) use technology on the Cyborgology blog. Today, I have compiled and interesting graph illustrating the age at which today’s minors got their first cell phone.
More data on this topic is available at the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Previously, I have discussed how Internet (particularly online dating) varies with age. Today, I want to take a slight different tact and consider Internet use as a generational phenomenon.
These data, no doubt, confirm expectations that Internet usage is less common in older generations; however, the severity of the drop in Internet use across generational groups is greater than virtually any other category, including gender, race, and class. The generation gap still constitutes the greatest digital divide in America.
For more trend data see Pew’s “Generation Difference in Online Activities.”
Rather than compiling my own charts this week, I have gathered a number of figures created by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that address in the US. This first chart shows that it was only in 2008 that 50% of adults in America first had broadband access at home. These data might not be the best representation of access, however, because we know that many people, particularly blacks and Hispanics, are accessing the Internet through mobile devices and may be living in urban environments where public wifi is ubiquitous (more…)
The Pew Internet & American Life Project has just released new figures on the use of what they are calling “location based” or “geosocial” services (e.g., Foursquare, Gowalla, or Facebook Places). These services encourage social interaction through the sharing of location-based information. Usage patterns break down along some interesting lines. I have taken the liberty of compiling some tables for you.
Men are currently twice as likely to use geosocial services as woman. (more…)
Because I am usually trapped in the Sociology Department’s data dungeon on Wednesdays, I have decided to establish a recurring series of posts that discuss new trends or data.
Last week, I compiled some data from a 2005 Pew study to explore whether college students are using Online dating. I’ve now replicated that chart for Pew’s 2009 data.What’s most striking about these data is their sizable departure from the 2005 data. Particularly, because the movement is opposite of the expected direction (i.e., upward). (more…)
A colleague, Zeynep Tufekci, and I were having a friendly debate about whether college students are using sites focused specifically on online dating or whether they are using Facebook and other more general social networking sites in lieu of online dating sites. I compiled some data from the Pew 2005 online dating survey. As you can see, online dating sites were most popular among young adults. I’ll try to compile the same chart for 2010 next week.
In the meantime, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. Are college students using online dating more than they were five years ago? Are they using other sites in lieu of online dating sites? (more…)