Hard News by Russell Brown


Part of nearly all our lives

I don't have time this morning to go too deeply through The Internet in New Zealand 2007: Final Report, which is our section of the World Internet Project. The final report was largely foreshadowed by a draft published late last year, but it's a very accessible snapshot of where we're at online. You should make some time to look at it.

For me, the strongest message from the study is that the internet is not niche. It is part of nearly all our lives. Rich people use and value the internet more than poor people, city people more than country people, and "Asians" use and value it more than anyone -- but there is no group for whom it is not a factor, apart from the very elderly.

Sixty per cent of us have bought things online. In the three main centres, nearly 80% of people who use the internet have broadband at home; a majority of those in the two lowest income groups do too (although I'd think you'd be seeing some distortion from students there). Maori and Pasifika people surveyed tended to believe the internet strengthened their languages About two thirds of twentysomethings and Asians regard the internet as an "important" source of information. Rural internet service remains a problem.

And, best of all, the graph for online gaming by age is a U-curve. It drops off until the over-70s kick in -- 18% of them play online games at least weekly, and the 80+ crowd is even more up for it. (Yes, I know, they're not playing the same games as teenage boys are -- but the notion of a great-granny deathmatch in Half Life 2 is quite appealing.)

I spoke to Eloise Gibson at the Herald for her story, about the finding that 10% of us have a blog -- that's 400,000 blog nutters and the highest incidence for any country in the survey -- and made the point that not all blogs are the same. Kids with MSN Spaces blogs are telling their mates abut their lives, not working on the definitive critique of Helen Clark. It should also be noted that Asians bring up the average -- they blog at five times the rate (31%) of Pakeha. I'd love to have known what platforms they blog on, and in what languages.

And also, last week for Public Address Radio, I interviewed Jeff Cole, the California-based director of the World Internet Project. He was a great subject. The 15-minute interview is available, with transcript, over in Public Address Radio.

Should you be moved to comment, I'd be obliged if you discussed it here, along with the report itself. And if Alan Bell or anyone else at AUT, which directed the survey, wanted to come here and discuss it, that would be good too.


Also, allow me to recommend Gordon Campbell's Winners and Losers In The Winston Peters saga for a take on Peters' present troubles that isn't running around in circles. He also reviews yesterday's Prime Ministerial presser.

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