“The bar for what constitutes a sophisticated tech user has risen with the advent of wireless connectivity,” said Horrigan. “Mobile access facilitates full participation in the flow of online information. For many Americans, always-on, always-available access is a basic part of their lifestyles. They don’t see home broadband access alone as sufficient for their digital needs.”
Here’s a rundown of the 10 groups in the typology. The first five groups (39% of the adult population) share the common characteristic of being motivated by mobility in their use of ICTs:
- Digital Collaborators (8% of the population) are very much about continual information exchange with others, as they frequently mix it up with online collaborators to create and share content or express themselves.
- Ambivalent Networkers (7%) are extremely active in using social networking sites and accessing digital resources “on the go” yet aren’t always thrilled to be contacted by others. They sometimes yearn for a break from online use and pervasive connectivity.
- Media Movers (7%) are the accelerants of user-generated content as they use their ICT assets to send material (say, a photo or video they’ve taken) out onto the Web.
- Roving Nodes (9%) are active managers of their social lives using basic applications – texting and emailing – to connect with others, pass along information, and bolster personal productivity.
- Mobile Newbies (8%) are occasional internet users, but many in this group are recent cell phone adopters and very enthusiastic about how mobile service makes them more available to others. They would be hard pressed to give up their cell phones.
The final five groups (61% of the general population) make up the stationary media majority:
- Desktop Veterans (13%) are tech-oriented, but in a “year 2004” kind of way. They consume online information and connect with others using traditional tools such as email on a home high-speed connection. They are not heavy users of cell phones for much beyond a voice call.
- Drifting Surfers (14%) have the tools for connectivity, but are relatively infrequent users of them. They say they could give up their internet and cell phones. In spite of years of online experience, they seem to have checked out of the digital revolution.
- Information Encumbered (10%) have average amounts of connectivity, but suffer from information overload and have a tough time getting their gadgets to work without help from others.
- Tech Indifferent (10%) have limited online capability at home and, even though most have cell phones, they bristle at the intrusiveness cell phones can foster.
- Off the Network (14%) lack the tools for digital connectivity, as they have neither online access nor cell phones.
Two-thirds (66%) of respondents in the five “motivated by mobility” groups collectively report that it would be “very hard” to give up their mobile devices. This represents a 20% increase in the share saying this compared to when these respondents were interviewed 20 months earlier in April 2006. In sharp contrast, just 21% of the “stationary media majority” respondents say they would find it very hard to do without their mobile devices, and this represents a 64% decrease in the share saying this since April 2006.