On Monday, I went to the LAUNC-CH Conference at the lovely Friday Center on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. Lauren discussed Lee Rainie’s keynote address, “Networked Individuals, Networked Libraries,” but I’d like to hit the things I found interesting in his presentation. I found it very interesting that smart cell phones are the most commonly used internet-capable technology by lower-income populations in the U.S. Yes, higher-income folks use smart phones more than lower-income folks, but the gap in usage is lower than with any other kind of technology, like laptops. Also, the ubiquity of the mobile internet usage is revolutionizing personal relationships to the internet. People expect to get information anywhere, on any device, at any time. It has also changed the idea of place and of presence (increasingly common experience of people using devices and being “alone together”). What is fascinating is that Rainie said that there is more evidence that people who use information technology a lot use it as a supplement to activity in the real world, not as a replacement for activity in the real world (which is one of the standard-issue criticisms of heavy technology use). This new information landscape is leading to increased reliance on social networks, which work as sentries (word of mouth matters more and more), as information evaluators (they vouch for or discredit a source’s credibility and authenticity), and as forums for action (everybody is a broadcaster/publisher).
Wednesday, March 9, 2011 4:01 pm