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How have your first year's findings surprised
We found that people who are on the Internet feel more connected
in their social lives and report less loneliness. We also found
that among 12- to 15-year-olds and 45- to 50-year-olds, there are
more females than males on-line. And the longer you have been an
Internet user, the more you use it and for a wider variety of purposes.
We also found widespread concern about privacy and the Internet,
about companies tracking us, watching where we go, gathering information
about what we purchase and using it to sell us products and services.
Who do you hope is paying attention to
your study and findings?
We have so many audiences we want to serve. Scholars, policy-makers,
business leaders, parents, teachers, interested citizens. The Internet
is affecting everyone's life, whether they use it or not. So even
if you're a non-user in America, you are being influenced by the
Internet. We hope that scholars will look at pieces of what we find
about loneliness or sleep or consumer behavior and then expand on
it. We hope that policy-makers will look at what we find and begin
to see trends and work with us to see if trends really are trends.
We hope that companies, particularly those supporting our research,
will look at what we find and use it. Ultimately, we hope that our
findings will help the Internet to realize its immense potential.
Everyone knows the Internet's extraordinary capacity for good and
everyone knows the dangers. Our job is to help as much as possible
to increase the good and minimize the bad.
How has the Internet changed your own life?
We can communicate with the entire world instantaneously at very
little cost. There is the ability to learn something 24 hours a
day. I love the ability to be in Singapore or Sweden or France and
be totally connected to my life. I'm much happier, for example,
when I'm on vacation and I can check in with the office and in five
minutes know everything is all right. When I want to be away from
my daily routine, I simply turn it off.
What is next?
This year we have created the best snapshot we could of America
and technology. But it is a snapshot, a still picture. Next year
it becomes a moving picture. We'll see movement - we'll see non-users
change into users, we'll see users become advanced users, we'll
see non-users who stay non-users. We'll be able to watch how broadband
Internet access changes our use. We may also want to look at the
influence of the Internet in politics, particularly as we may be
moving toward casting our votes on-line. We also want to clearly
explain the role of new technology in the 2000 presidential election.
It definitely played a role; we just don't know how great a role.