business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

This is one of those occasions on which it would seem to be more appropriate to email a card, rather than going down to the store, buying one, then going to the post office, buying a stamp, and then making sure that you mail the card early enough so that recipient receives it in a timely fashion.

Today is the 25th birthday of the World Wide Web, described by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project as "one of the most important and heavily-used parts of the network of computer networks that make up the internet. Indeed, the invention of the Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee was instrumental in turning the internet from a geeky data-transfer system embraced by specialists and a small number of enthusiasts into a mass-adopted technology easily used by hundreds of millions around the world."

(It also makes MNB possible … though I suppose on the scale of things that is a minor achievement.)

The Pew project uses the moment to assess the impact of the internet since its invention, something it has been doing since 1995. Among the findings:

• 87 percent of American adults now use the internet, "with near-saturation usage among those living in households earning $75,000 or more (99%), young adults ages 18-29 (97%), and those with college degrees (97%). Fully 68% of adults connect to the internet with mobile devices like smartphones or tablet computers."

• "90% of internet users say the internet has been a good thing for them personally and only 6% say it has been a bad thing, while 3% volunteer that it has been some of both.

• "76% of internet users say the internet has been a good thing for society, while 15% say it has been a bad thing and 8% say it has been equally good and bad."

• "53% of internet users say the internet would be, at minimum, 'very hard' to give up, compared with 38% in 2006. That amounts to 46% of all adults who now say the internet would be very hard to give up."

Along these same lines, the New York Post has a story about a new survey saying that 16 percent of respondents plan to observe Lent - the period of time between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday that stresses penitence - by forgoing social media usage. That's far more than the number of people who plan to give up swearing and smoking (about two percent, the story says), though less than the 30 percent of respondents who plan to give up chocolate.

It's all an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: