Pew Internet asked non-Internet users why not? 15% of the Americans over 18 don’t use the Internet. Their reasons: It’s not relevant, it’s not easy, it costs money, or they just can’t.
But 3% of the respondents gave worry about privacy, spam, hackers – and security in general as the reason. I know a couple of those people.
But the non-users might ask a user to look up something or send something for them.
Who’s not online and why? (Sep 25)
On the other hand, Pew Internet also found that people with smartphones use the location-based services – and let their locations be known at least long enough to find places and business nearby. However, more people may be turning off location tracking than before.
Location Based Services, by Kathyrn ZIxkuhr, Pew Internet (Sep 12)
Yet even as most smartphone owners use their phones’ abilities to get location-specific information, data from earlier surveys also shows that mobile users of all ages say they have turned off location-tracking features at some point due to privacy concerns:
Pew Internet finds that most internet users accept that complete anonymity online is impossible but many are doing their best to control how much about themselves is public.
Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online, Lee Raine and others, Pew Internet (Sep 5, 2013)
Key findings: (from the Summary)
- 86% of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints—ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email.
- 55% of internet users have taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organizations, or the government.
Only 792 Internet users were surveyed, and yet 21% have had an account compromised (and come to think of it, that happened to me with Twitter); 11% have had personal information stolen – and some other frightening figures.
“Growing numbers of internet users (50%) say they are worried about the amount of personal information about them that is online” – users – all of us – are going to demand more protection.
It’s good to step back from our daily lives on the Internet to see a bigger picture. This article by Marisa Wong directs us to three presentations containing facts and figures that document the dramatic change to commerce and our lives due to the Internet.
Mary Meeker’s State of the Internet: Good, Bad or Somewhere In-Between? (Slideshare, May 29)
Mary Meeker’s slide show on Internet Trends (May 29) has a lot to do with devices, Internet traffic, and commercial use. There is continuing rapid growth in users outside of the United States, and tsunami level increases in content – photos, video, sharing. Google reigns as most used property, and Facebook as most used social media. Mobile is 15% of Internet traffic and projected to be 30% in 2014. Several are using Internet delivery to re-imagine their services.
Mitch Joel delivers some shocking facts, among them –.
- Fact: “Google’s advertising revenue is bigger than that of the entire US print industry.”
- Fact: “74% of businesses don’t have a plan to stay competitive in the new mobile world.”
Is your business or association re-imagining business in a mobile world?
Canadians love their Facebook. One third check social media places daily – Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin.
One-third of Canadians don’t go a day without checking social media: survey, Michael Oliviera, CP via Globe and Mail (Apr 30)
“About 63 per cent of social media users said they read Facebook posts, tweets and/or LinkedIn updates every single day.
Facebook remains far and away the most popular social network. About 63 per cent of Internet users and 93 per cent of social media users said they’re on Facebook.
Only seven per cent of the social media users surveyed said they were regular users of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, logging in to each at least one a month. Those users were most likely to be under 50, university educated and live in a high-income household with a child under 12 in the home.”
The usefulness of social media for posting announcements about company financial results can take a bad turn – as happened when hackers faked a Twitter feed from AP reporting that the WHite House had been attacked. Stock market immediately tumbled.
Social Media pose challenge for regulators, Jeff Gray, Globe and Mail (April 24)
“The multibillion-dollar stock market collapse triggered by a hacked Twitter feed highlights the complex problems market regulators face in the social media age – and the potential risks to investors”.
Notwithstanding these problems, “social media eventually will become a standard route for corporate disclosures.” (quoting Carol Hansell, a senior partner with Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP in Toronto).
Interesting term – spear-phishing
“In the AP case – according to what appeared to be an internal AP memo posted by U.S. media blogger Jim Romenesko – hackers tricked AP employees into clicking on a link in an e-mail that appeared to come from a colleague, a targeted technique known as “spear phishing” that allows hackers to induce people into unknowingly providing passwords or personal information.”
Analyzing search terms and Google queries could pay off.
‘Big Data’ Researchers Turn to Google to Beat the Markets, Bernhard Warner, Bloomberg BusinessWeek (Apr 25)
A research team from several business schools “analyzed on a week-by-week basis the ups and downs of Google search volume for the 98 finance-related terms” and used the trends to make buy and sell decisions.
“Based on the results, it would sell or buy into its theoretical Dow Jones industrial average index-weighted portfolio. “If the volume of search terms went up in the previous week, we would open up a hypothetical short position and sell in the following week,” explains Preis. “If there was a decrease in volume, then we’d buy.””
Google once had Google Insights where the general user could get a view of queries. Today it is the more limited Google Trends.
Pharmaceutical companies can uncover previously undiscovered side effects of their drugs by miining public web search histories. Time Health and Family carried the story – How Our Web Searches Could Expose Drug Side Effects (by Alexandra Sifferlin, March 7)
A group of researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine and Microsoft Research used web search history of six million volunteers to uncover interactions between drugs.
To further validate their results, the research team also studied searchers surrounding 31 drug interactions known to cause hyperglycemia, and 31 safe drug interactions. They did find more hyperglycemia-related searches for people using the drugs known to cause problems, but also a high rate of hyperglycemia searches among patients using drugs with no known related side effects. The scientists believe that in order to decrease the amount of false-positive results, they need to combine data from other sources such as social media, medical records and patient support forums.
We knew that Google was penalizing “content farms”, sites that hosted freelance writers who produced content – usually, but not exclusively, on popular questions. Lowering their showing in search results started last year with the changes introduced by Panda to Googles’s ranking algorithm. Matt McGee reviews the impact to date in Google Panda Two Years Later: The Real Impact Beyond Rankings & SEO Visibility (Search Engine Land, Feb 25, 2013). Suffice to say impact has been major.
- Mahalo – an early “human curated” site
- Suite 101 – a network of writers based in British Columbia
- Findarticles - had journal and magazine articles – its closing is a serious loss.
- Associated Content (now Yahoo Voices)
- About.com – no wonder New York Times sold it at a loss – but there are many excellent About.com guides.
The business model of hosting writers and attracting traffic to their articles for the advertising revenue went amuck. Might have been a case of a few bad apples.
Pew Internet did some digging into how attached Facebook users really are to this social network. Coming and Going on Facebook (Feb 5)
Two thirds (67%) of online adults in the United States are members of Facebook – it is the most popular social networking service. But 61% of those users said they have taken extensive breaks from it for such reasons as they were too busy (21%), content was too boring or gossipy (at least 20%), and they were worried about security and privacy (4%)..
Of those who don’t use Facebook at all, 20% said they used to but quit for much the same reasons existing users took breaks.
A substantial number of people, including younger users, said they intend to spend less time in the coming year. “Some 38% of Facebook users ages 18-29 expect to spend less time using the site in 2013. “ However, the majority in all age brackets anticipate no decline in their visits to Facebook.
Facebook reported having 1.06 billion monthly active users at the end of 2012 ( from The Next Web, Jan 30) , with 618 million daily active users and 680 million monthly active mobile.