The Wired, The Unwired And The Sort-of-Wired

As Internet hype gets a second wind (“Bubble? What bubble?”), it’s useful to be reminded that every man, woman and child doesn’t spend each available hour online. A Gallup poll provides such a reminder in the form of responses to the question, “How much time, if at all, do you personally spend using the Internet—more than an hour a day, up to one hour a day, a few times a week, a few times a month or less, or never?” Thirty-three percent of adults spend more than an hour a day on the Internet, and another 18 percent said they spend up to an hour. But 27 percent never use it, and 9 percent go online a few times a month at most. Thirteen percent use it a few times a week. As you can see from the chart, e-mail is the only Internet application that a majority of wired adults use frequently. The wired old are nearly as likely as the wired young to use the Web for e-mail or to check news and weather. There’s a big gap, though, in propensity for downloading music (35 percent of 18-29s vs. 12 percent of those 65-plus), instant messaging (45 percent vs. 15 percent) and viewing video Webcasts (27 percent vs. 7 percent). Oddest age-related tidbit: Internet users age 65-plus were almost as likely as those 18-29 to report using the Web for playing games (32 percent of the old folks, 34 percent of the young ones). Shouldn’t those geezers be busy using the Web to figure out which prescription-drug plan to join?