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One-Third in U.S. Quite Tech Savvy, Survey Reports

Wireless tools and the Internet are essential to the 'elite' 31% of 1, 677 polled, Pew researcher John Horrigan says.

November 24, 2003|From Associated Press

Technology geeks, unite. There are more of you than you might have realized.

A study released Sunday found that 31% of Americans were "highly tech-savvy" people for whom the Internet, cellphones and hand-held organizers were more indispensable than TVs and old-fashioned wired phones.

John Horrigan, author of the report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, said the size of this "tech elite" was somewhat surprising.

And though this group is predominantly young, Pew researchers found plenty of baby boomers and seniors who are equally ardent about technology.

The difference, though, is that techies in their late teens and 20s are more likely to create online content, such as Web logs, or "blogs." Generation Xers are more likely to pay for content on the Web, and wired boomers and seniors generally plumb the Internet for news or to do work-related research.

So are you part of the "tech elite"? Consider these other Pew findings about how they live:

* They spend, on average, $169 a month on broadband Internet service, satellite or cable TV, cellphones and Web content. That is 39% higher than the national average, $122.

* About 29% of them have broadband connections, compared with 17% of everyone else.

* About 7% of technology aficionados have canceled their land-line phones and gone all-wireless. Only 2% of nontechies have done that.

* Despite being plugged into the Internet and other sources of data more often, only 13% of the tech-savvy crowd feels overwhelmed by information. By contrast, a sense of information overload plagues 25% of the rest of the population.

So why do the people who immerse themselves in information feel less besieged by it?

It could be that technology helps some people organize or take control of their lives, Horrigan said.

Or others, he added, are simply better at knowing what to do and how to cope with the information that is flooding at them.

Pew produced the report after surveying 1,677 American adults in October. It has a margin of error of two percentage points.

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