"A key theme in these survey findings is that many people see acquiring information as a highly social process in which trusted helpers matter,” Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and a main author of the report said. “One of the main resources that people tap when they have questions is the networks of expertise. Even some of the most self-sufficient information consumers in our sample find that libraries and librarians can be part of their networks when they have problems to solve or decisions to make."

PBS Newshour: Turns out the most engaged library users also biggest tech users

"People are not hooked on gadgets—they are hooked on each other."

— Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman, Networked individualism: What in the world is that?

"More people are getting their political news from newspapers and television, but those on social-networking sites tend to be politically active. So politicians who are on Twitter are punching above their weight in terms of getting people to donate money and talk to friends about candidates."

Aaron Smith, senior research specialist, quoted in a Washington Post piece about President Obama’s upcoming “Twitter town hall.” The live question-and-answer session starts at 2pm EDT.

Read more about politics & social media:

"I feel a strong sense of responsibility to all of our respondents. They are all busy, doing a million things in their lives, and yet they take the time to answer our questions. Every time I sit down to write, I think about them in aggregate and individually. The people who make a way out of no way, like the woman who found an air pump for her husband’s therapeutic mattress on eBay when the manufacturer told her it had been discontinued. The man who, pre-internet, spent hours at the library researching his daughter’s rare disease and now marvels at what he can learn and share online. The family who has been passing down knowledge of their hereditary condition for over 100 years and now is able to share their wisdom online."

— Susannah Fox, in reply to this heartwarming post from Regina Holiday, on the people behind our data.

(Source: e-patients.net)

"The vast majority of American adults who go online for health information are probably not hypochondriacs, nor are they “cyberchondriacs.”"

— Associate Director Susannah Fox weighs in on the topic of “cyberchondriacs.” (Read the original post and her comment for more details.)

"…we live now in a world in which all people can be, and often are, content creators as well as consumers. And Wikipedia, a project which bears out this fact, has become so wildly successful that it is one of the most dominant sources of knowledge in the public sphere—certainly in the areas of ready-reference and self-study. So, if the ultimate aim of academia is to serve the public interest at all, it is time for its members, especially those who feel the need, as a matter of academic principle, to question its authority, to recognize that they also have just as great a professional responsibility to help improve it."

—Dominic McDevitt-Parks, the new “Wikipedian in Residence" at the National Archives

Further Reading:

"People often go online first to prepare for doctor appointments, and then go online after to recover from a doctors appointment."

— Associate Director Susannah Fox on ABC News Radio, discussing her new report, “The Social Life of Health Information, 2011.”

(Source: abcnewsradioonline.com)

"It worries me that people are so eager to promote a sensational headline. The goal of research should be to help people make good decisions based on sound data. Facebook is not a dominant source for health information. Not even close."

— Associate Director Susannah Fox, quoted in a recent piece on questionable social media statistics.

"[My dad] drives like he’s drunk. His phone is just like sitting right in front of his face, and he puts his knees on the bottom of the steering wheel and tries to text."

9th/10th grade boy, talking about his father’s driving habits.
Read the full report: Teens and Distracted Driving (2009) — see also Adults and Cell Phone Distractions (2010)

"Young adults continue to be the heaviest users of social media, but their growth pales in comparison with recent gains made by older users. Email is still the primary way that older users maintain contact with friends, families and colleagues, but many older users now rely on social network platforms to help manage their daily communications."

Senior Research Specialist Mary Madden
Read the full report: Older Adults and Social Media (2010)