From our new report: Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites - Teens and social network sites

We have a huge new report out today about how teens navigate interactions on social network sites and Twitter. It’s a big report, and covers a lot of ground—the above infographics are just from the first section, an overview of how many teens are on social media, who they are, and what they do there. More to follow…

by danah boyd, Eszter Hargittai, Jason Schultz, and John Palfrey, First Monday.

You can read the full article at the link above, or read danah’s blog post summarizing the results at the Digital Media and Learning Blog.

Half of Adult Cell Phone Owners Have Apps on Their Phones

Our latest report explores recent trends in app downloads: Who uses apps? What do they download? Who pays for apps—and how much? Read more

What effect do tablets have on news consumption habits?

The Project for Excellence in Journalism (a fellow Pew Research project) and The Economist Group have collaborated on the most comprehensive and detailed analysis to date of tablet users and how they get news on their tablets: To what extent are people using their tablets for news rather than other activities? Are they getting more news now than before they had their tablets? 

The multi-phase study of nearly 1,200 tablet users and nearly 900 tablet news users offers unprecedented findings on many questions, and will be available on www.journalism.org on Tuesday, October 25.

How have mobile devices changed your news consumption habits?
The Media Primary: How News Media and Blogs Have Eyed the Presidential Contenders during the First Phase of the 2012 Race - Project for Excellence in Journalism

In the first months of the race for president, that weeding out period  before citizens ever vote or caucus, Texas Governor Rick Perry has  received the most coverage and the most positive coverage from the news  media of any GOP contender, according to a new study by the Pew Research  Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. 


The study, which examines news media and blog coverage of 10 GOP contenders as well as the president, also finds:

• News coverage of Herman Cain has been moderately more positive (28%) than negative (23%) overall. But most of that flattering narrative has come recently. From May through July, however, Cain was largely ignored, and his coverage was more negative or mixed.
• Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s coverage has been substantially more positive (31%) than negative (23%). But she had the wildest ride of any candidate. She moved from a long shot to a surprise contender, to an object of scrutiny, to a straw poll winner and back to unlikely underdog. At the same time, she has been largely pummeled in the blogs throughout.
• Though she never entered the race, Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was the fourth-most-covered Republican figure in news coverage, and the most-discussed candidate in blogs. And despite her complaints about what she calls the “lamestream media,” Palin enjoyed coverage that was considerably more positive than negative—by a factor of almost 3-2—and much more positive than she received among bloggers.

Read more at journalism.org

The Media Primary: How News Media and Blogs Have Eyed the Presidential Contenders during the First Phase of the 2012 Race - Project for Excellence in Journalism

In the first months of the race for president, that weeding out period before citizens ever vote or caucus, Texas Governor Rick Perry has received the most coverage and the most positive coverage from the news media of any GOP contender, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. 

The study, which examines news media and blog coverage of 10 GOP contenders as well as the president, also finds:

News coverage of Herman Cain has been moderately more positive (28%) than negative (23%) overall. But most of that flattering narrative has come recently. From May through July, however, Cain was largely ignored, and his coverage was more negative or mixed.

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s coverage has been substantially more positive (31%) than negative (23%). But she had the wildest ride of any candidate. She moved from a long shot to a surprise contender, to an object of scrutiny, to a straw poll winner and back to unlikely underdog. At the same time, she has been largely pummeled in the blogs throughout.

Though she never entered the race, Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was the fourth-most-covered Republican figure in news coverage, and the most-discussed candidate in blogs. And despite her complaints about what she calls the “lamestream media,” Palin enjoyed coverage that was considerably more positive than negative—by a factor of almost 3-2—and much more positive than she received among bloggers.

Read more at journalism.org

In case you missed it: We recently came out with a great new report with the Project for Excellence in Journalism about how people get news and information about their local community. Some of the major findings include:
Local TV news remains the most popular source for local information in America, but adults rely on it primarily for just three subjects—weather, breaking news and to a lesser extent traffic.
Newspapers (both print and on the web) are the source Americans turn to most for a wider range of information than any other source.
The internet has a strong hold in the local community, as web-only outlets are now the key source of information on some key subjects such as education or local business and restaurants. Among adults under age 40, the internet rivals or surpasses other platforms on every single topic area except one (breaking local news). 
Want to learn more? You can explore for yourself the changing ecosystem of how people get local news with this interactive infographic, or read the report in full on our website.

In case you missed it: We recently came out with a great new report with the Project for Excellence in Journalism about how people get news and information about their local community. Some of the major findings include:

  • Local TV news remains the most popular source for local information in America, but adults rely on it primarily for just three subjects—weather, breaking news and to a lesser extent traffic.
  • Newspapers (both print and on the web) are the source Americans turn to most for a wider range of information than any other source.
  • The internet has a strong hold in the local community, as web-only outlets are now the key source of information on some key subjects such as education or local business and restaurants. Among adults under age 40, the internet rivals or surpasses other platforms on every single topic area except one (breaking local news). 

Want to learn more? You can explore for yourself the changing ecosystem of how people get local news with this interactive infographic, or read the report in full on our website.

Another lovely infographic for your Friday morning…
We just noticed that the folks at Visible Technologies have pulled some stats from our recent report on mobile and social location-based services, particularly the section about social media users who have set up their accounts to automatically include their location in their posts. (Click here for a larger version.)
Highlights from the mobile findings:
12% of smartphone owners have used a geosocial (“check in”) service such as Foursquare or Gowalla.
55% of smartphone owners have used a location-based  information service to get directions or recommendations based on their  current location.
And the social:
14% of social media users have set up their account to automatically include their location in their posts.
Want more data? Read more in the full report on our website.

Another lovely infographic for your Friday morning…

We just noticed that the folks at Visible Technologies have pulled some stats from our recent report on mobile and social location-based services, particularly the section about social media users who have set up their accounts to automatically include their location in their posts. (Click here for a larger version.)

Highlights from the mobile findings:

  • 12% of smartphone owners have used a geosocial (“check in”) service such as Foursquare or Gowalla.
  • 55% of smartphone owners have used a location-based information service to get directions or recommendations based on their current location.

And the social:

  • 14% of social media users have set up their account to automatically include their location in their posts.

Want more data? Read more in the full report on our website.

(Source: cmswire.com)

Both cell ownership and text messaging are nearly universal among 18-24 year olds—95% own a cell phone and 97% of these cell owners use text messaging. 
18-24 year olds send or receive an average of  109.5 text messages per day—that works out to more than 3,200 messages  per month. The median 18-24 year old texter sends or receives 50 texts  per day, or around 1,500 messages per month.
To put these numbers in comparison, the average of 109.5 texts  per day among 18-24 year olds is more than double the comparable figure  for 25-34 year olds, and twenty-three times the figure for text  messaging users who are 65 or older. Read more in our most recent report, Americans and Text Messaging.

Both cell ownership and text messaging are nearly universal among 18-24 year olds—95% own a cell phone and 97% of these cell owners use text messaging. 

18-24 year olds send or receive an average of 109.5 text messages per day—that works out to more than 3,200 messages per month. The median 18-24 year old texter sends or receives 50 texts per day, or around 1,500 messages per month.

To put these numbers in comparison, the average of 109.5 texts per day among 18-24 year olds is more than double the comparable figure for 25-34 year olds, and twenty-three times the figure for text messaging users who are 65 or older. Read more in our most recent report, Americans and Text Messaging.

What we’re reading: A new report on awareness, attitudes, and use of online parental controls from the Family Online Safety Institute
Among the main findings:
Parents generally feel their children are safe online, but confidence declines the older the child and the more time he or she spends online.
When it comes to various online activities, parents express the most concern about their children viewing sexually explicit content online—70% say they are very/somewhat concerned. Other top concerns include communicating with a stranger online (61%) and visiting Web sites with inappropriate content (61%).
Fully 96% of parents surveyed say they have had a conversation with their child about what to do and not to do online.
Top concerns about children’s online safety relate to personal safety online, and significant concern also is expressed about spam and their child spending too much time online.
53% of parents say they have used parental control technologies to assist them in monitoring their child’s Internet usage.
Read more at FOSI.org
The research consisted of a nationwide telephone survey among 702 parents of children ages eight to 17 who access the Internet, and was conducted by Hart Research Associates. Interviewing was conducted from July 8 to 16, 2011, with a margin of error of ±3.7 percentage points.
(Click here for a full version of the above infographic - PDF)

What we’re reading: A new report on awareness, attitudes, and use of online parental controls from the Family Online Safety Institute

Among the main findings:

  • Parents generally feel their children are safe online, but confidence declines the older the child and the more time he or she spends online.
  • When it comes to various online activities, parents express the most concern about their children viewing sexually explicit content online—70% say they are very/somewhat concerned. Other top concerns include communicating with a stranger online (61%) and visiting Web sites with inappropriate content (61%).
  • Fully 96% of parents surveyed say they have had a conversation with their child about what to do and not to do online.
  • Top concerns about children’s online safety relate to personal safety online, and significant concern also is expressed about spam and their child spending too much time online.
  • 53% of parents say they have used parental control technologies to assist them in monitoring their child’s Internet usage.

Read more at FOSI.org

The research consisted of a nationwide telephone survey among 702 parents of children ages eight to 17 who access the Internet, and was conducted by Hart Research Associates. Interviewing was conducted from July 8 to 16, 2011, with a margin of error of ±3.7 percentage points.

(Click here for a full version of the above infographic - PDF)

New Report: 28% of American adults use mobile and social location-based services

More than a quarter of all American adults—28%—use mobile or social location-based services of some kind. Some highlights from the report:

  • One in ten smartphone owners (12%) have used a geosocial (“check in”) service such as Foursquare or Gowalla.
  • 55% of smartphone owners have used a location-based information service to get directions or recommendations based on their current location.
  • 14% of social media users have set up their account to automatically include their location in their posts.

Read the full report: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Location.aspx

Our new report covers online learning in higher ed, but there’s another report out today with data about K-12 online learners: Click here to download the PDF.

The Digital Revolution and Higher Education

We’ve got a great new Pew Research Center report out today about college presidents and how they view the tech in the classroom—both today and in the coming years. This report cover everything from the perceptions of the public and college presidents about the value of online learning, the prevalence and future of online courses, use of digital textbooks, the internet and plagiarism, and technology use in the classroom, as well as college presidents’ own use of technology.

For instance: About half of college presidents (51%) say an online course provides an equal educational value to one taken in a classroom; just three-in-ten American adults (29%) agree. (Do you?)

More than three-quarters of college presidents (77%) report that their institutions now offer online courses, and college presidents predict substantial growth in online learning: 15% say most of their current undergraduate students have taken a class online, 50% predict that ten years from now most of their students will take classes online. 

Other findings include:

  • Most college presidents (55%) say that plagiarism in students’ papers has increased over the past 10 years. Among those who have seen an increase in plagiarism, 89% say computers and the internet have played a major role.
  • The leaders of the nation’s colleges and universities are a tech-savvy group. Nearly nine-in-ten (87%) use a smartphone daily, 83% use a desktop computer and 65% use a laptop.
  • College presidents are ahead of the curve on some of the newer digital technologies: Fully half (49%) use a tablet computer such as an iPad at least occasionally, and 42% use an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook.
  • 15% of college presidents say most of their current undergraduate students have taken a class online, and 50% predict that 10 years from now most of their students will take classes online.
  • Nearly two-thirds of college presidents (62%) anticipate that 10 years from now, more than half of the textbooks used by their undergraduate students will be entirely digital.

The report is based on findings from two Pew Research Center surveys: a national poll of the general public, and a survey of college presidents done in association with The Chronicle of Higher Education. You and read or download the full report here: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/College-presidents.aspx

What’s the one word you would use to describe your experiences using social networking sites? Most Americans say “good.”

When social networking users were asked for one word to describe their  experiences using social networking sites, “good” was the most common  response.  Overall, positive responses far outweighed the negative and neutral  words that were associated with social networking sites (more than half  of the respondents used positive terms). Users repeatedly described  their experiences as “fun,” “great,” “interesting” and “convenient.”  Less common were superlatives such as “astounding,” “necessity,” and  “empowering.”

More from our latest report, “65% of online adults use social networking sites”

What’s the one word you would use to describe your experiences using social networking sites? Most Americans say “good.”

When social networking users were asked for one word to describe their experiences using social networking sites, “good” was the most common response. Overall, positive responses far outweighed the negative and neutral words that were associated with social networking sites (more than half of the respondents used positive terms). Users repeatedly described their experiences as “fun,” “great,” “interesting” and “convenient.” Less common were superlatives such as “astounding,” “necessity,” and “empowering.”

More from our latest report, “65% of online adults use social networking sites”

It’s official: Half of *all* American adults use social networking sites.
Fully 65% of adult internet users now say they use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 61% one year ago. This marks the first time in Pew Internet surveys that 50% of all adults use social networking sites.
The frequency of social networking site usage among young adult internet users under age 30 was stable over the last year – 61% of online Americans in that age cohort now use social networking sites on a typical day, compared with 60% one year ago. However, among the Boomer-aged segment of internet users ages 50-64, social networking site usage on a typical day grew a significant 60% (from 20% to 32%).
“The graying of social networking sites continues, but the oldest users are still far less likely to be making regular use of these tools,” said Mary Madden, Senior Research Specialist and co-author of the report. “While seniors are testing the waters, many Baby Boomers are beginning to make a trip to the social media pool part of their daily routine.”
Read or download the full report at http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Social-Networking-Sites.aspx

It’s official: Half of *all* American adults use social networking sites.

Fully 65% of adult internet users now say they use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 61% one year ago. This marks the first time in Pew Internet surveys that 50% of all adults use social networking sites.

The frequency of social networking site usage among young adult internet users under age 30 was stable over the last year – 61% of online Americans in that age cohort now use social networking sites on a typical day, compared with 60% one year ago. However, among the Boomer-aged segment of internet users ages 50-64, social networking site usage on a typical day grew a significant 60% (from 20% to 32%).

“The graying of social networking sites continues, but the oldest users are still far less likely to be making regular use of these tools,” said Mary Madden, Senior Research Specialist and co-author of the report. “While seniors are testing the waters, many Baby Boomers are beginning to make a trip to the social media pool part of their daily routine.”

Read or download the full report at http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Social-Networking-Sites.aspx

Pew FAQ: How does the Pew Internet Project decide what topics it should study?

Question:

There is so much always changing about the Internet and how people use it, plus the rise of social media and all the new devices people use. How does the Pew Internet Project decide what topics and trends are important to study?

Answer:

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has a broad mandate from the Pew Charitable Trusts to study the social impact of digital technology. We have two broad strategies to do that. The first is to conduct regular tracking surveys of technology users. These surveys ask who is online, who uses cell phones and other gadgets, what activities they pursue with those technologies, and their perceptions of how those technologies fit into their lives.

In the course of doing those surveys, we always collect demographic data and we frequently issue reports and statistics about teens, seniors, men and women, digital divide issues, rural technology use, and a host of other subjects tied to tech-user data.

The second broad strategy driving our research is to focus on six key subjects that cover key aspects of the way the internet is affecting people. We look at the impact of technology on 1) families; 2) communities, both in the real world and the virtual world; 3) health and health care, 4) education, both formal and informal; 5) civic and political life; and 6) work places.

Our writ from the Pew Charitable Trusts is to try to generate data and analysis that will be useful to policy makers, scholars, important organizations of all kinds, and interested citizens. However, we do not do that research with policy recommendations in mind. We do not take positions on policy matters, or promote (or challenge) particular technologies or companies. So, we do our research in a way that we hope those communities might find useful and will interpret in their own way.

From time to time, we feel that this mandate from the Pew Charitable Trusts necessitates that we try to get survey readings on important policy issues such as privacy and identity matters, the way people use and think about e-government services, and the impact of spam. We pick those topics when we believe that insights from technology users will help inform policy debates, so we try to be topical and timely.

We are always assessing the technology environment to see what new gadgets, activities, and applications are emerging and we change our questions based on our sense of when these have reached a critical mass of adoption in the general population. One of the key tools we employ to explore what’s coming next is to ask experts every so often about their views about the future of the internet and the likely social impacts that will occur. This is one of the best ways we know to keep our eyes on the horizon.

We are interested in hearing from stakeholders about the kind of research questions we might tackle. We invite you to send your ideas to info@pewinternet.org. And I invite you to sign up to participate in occasional surveys that we conduct of long-time technology users. Email me at lrainie@pewinternet.org if you’d like to participate in those surveys.

— Lee Rainie, Director

Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project


For more “Ask the Expert” columns, click here.

The Pew Research Center often receives questions from visitors to our site and users of our studies about our findings and how the research behind them is carried out. In this feature, senior research staff answers questions relating to the areas covered by our seven projects ranging from polling techniques and findings, to media, technology, religious, demographic and global attitudes trends. We can’t promise to respond to all the questions that we receive from you, our readers, but we will try to provide answers to the most frequently received inquiries as well as to those that raise issues of particular interest.

If you have a question related to our work, please send it to info@pewresearch.org .