Pew Internet’s study on social media

New study from Pew Internet found increasing use of social media by online adults in the US. Facebook still leads by far , but Linkedin, Pinterest, Tweitter, and Instagram are strong.

Social Media Update 2014 BY Maeve Duggan, Nicole B. Ellison, Cliff Lampe, Amanda Lenhart, and Mary Madden,  Pew Research (Jan 9)

Of interest:

  • 52% of online adults use two or more social media services
  • 70% of Facebook users check daily
  • 31% of all seniors use Facebook
  • Instagram is most popular with people aged 18 to 29 – 53%
  • 42% of online women use Pinterest – way outnumbering men at 13%

Archiving the Web – a very big job

Tremendous article about archiving efforts to preserve Web content in the New Yorker by Jill Lepore – The Cobweb: Can the Internet be archived? .

First point – “The average life of a Web page is about a hundred days. ” Pages disappear for many reasons: sites die with their hosts – MySpace as an example; organization purposely deletes the pages – as British Conservative Party did with 10 years of speeches; website is reconfigured and content isn’t moved or is impossible to find. This is a plague of link rot for footnotes.

Internet Archive is the largest program to save Web content – It has captured 425 billion pages. There are associated services to help it – Archive It, and “Save Page Now” at Also a new to be used to create permalinks for articles referenced in footnotes.

There are other initiatives – Europeana as a digital library in Europe, and Digital Public Library of America.

Biggest issue is copyright – and the right to save.

Internet Archive blogged about this article also – The New Yorker: The Cobweb–Can the Internet be archived?. We hope they archived it.

Article does not mention the work Internet Archive has done to save other media and digital books.

News sources that people trust

A recent survey of trust in news sources showed that search engines (mostly Google) are now ahead of traditional media (TV, radio, and newspapers). In fact trust in traditional media has fallen from 65% in 2014 to 62% in 2015; and trust in social media risen to 48%.

Google Overtakes Traditional Media To Become Most Trusted News Source by Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land (Jan 20)

I suppose this is because people find it easier to run a quick search for breaking news or general information than scan a newspaper or wait for the 10 pm news program. Mostly it’s indicative of how deeply entrenched search is now in our information gathering habits.

Worry about these instead

“Right to be forgotten” is “dangerous”, observes Tim Berners-Lee. There are much more serious concerns – threats to net neutrality,  the power of corporations, and emergence of separate operating systems like iOS and Android.

Web founder: Europe’s ‘right to be forgotten’ rule is dangerous, by Stephen Shankland, CNet (Dec 10)

In a wide-ranging discussion at the conference, Berners-Lee said it’s appropriate that false information should be deleted. Information that’s true, though, is important for reasons of free speech and history, he said. A better approach to the challenge would be rules that protect people from inappropriate use of older information.


Berners-Lee, though, said losing Net neutrality could mean one company could encourage you to watch particular movies or discourage you from visiting a particular political party’s website. “For a company to be able to control your Web experience is hugely powerful. For a government to do that is hugely powerful. So we have to fight very strongly.”

The Growing Importance of Mobile

Google gives sites that are mobile friendly a ranking boost in search results.

Google Is Experimenting With Special Ranking For Mobile-Friendly Sites, Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land (Nov 18)

Google already penalizes sites that provide a bad experience to mobile searchers. Now the company has confirmed that it’s testing with what seems like a boost for those providing a great experience.

This is good, but it is also part of the trend that makes mobile access to the web more important than desktop. Wall Street Journal has noted that The Web Is Dying; Apps Are Killing It by Phil Foster (Nov 17)

Mountains of data tell us that, in aggregate, we are spending time in apps that we once spent surfing the Web. We’re in love with apps, and they’ve taken over. On phones, 86% of our time is spent in apps, and just 14% is spent on the Web, according to mobile-analytics company Flurry.

Net Neutrality

Net neutrality – “the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites” (Google define).

Net neutrality is not assured. Internet providers may want to favour some content distributors over others, and especially to promote their own. A large cable company like Comcast in the US or Rogers in Canada may not want to allow high volume streamed content over their network without additional compensation. Or the ISP may have some political preferences and wish to control distribution. Or the provider may want to package information for a fee. Making any exception to the principle of net neutrality can be a slippery slope.

MakeUseOf has an article on this outlining the arguments: What Is Net Neutrality & Why Should I Care?, Matthew Hughes, (Apr 17)

This fact sheet Keep the Internet Free and Open! from Common Cause list further reasons for concern.

The Web at 25

The Web will be 25 years old on March 12, and I’ve been teaching web searching for 20 years.  Pew Internet recognizes the anniversary with The Web at 25 in the U.S. by Susannah Fox and Lee Rainie (Feb 27)

How did we manage without it?  Over those 25 years browsers  added function and conveniencer, content has expanded, access became easier and faster, and eventually we became quite dependent.

The overall verdict: The internet has been a plus for society and an especially good thing for individual users