Current Internet Use, from Assorted Sources

Image of this blog on a BlackBerry, showing a post with an image of this blog on an HTC phone.

Today Opera Software released data about how users of its Opera Mini mobile web browser use the web. Opera does this periodically to give some insight into how its users may be surfing, but what we don’t know is how much Opera Mini users correspond to the web in general. Opera is certainly motivated to capture as much of the mobile market as it can given its low appearance numbers on desktops. Regardless, the title of the report really distills down Opera’s findings: Generation Y chooses the mobile Web. You can get all the details from this and prior surveys at Opera’s State of the Mobile Web site. Some of the highlights:

  • Almost 90% of respondents in the United States aged 18-27 have used their phones to share pictures. Of the profiled countries, Vietnam &8212; at 67% &7212; had the lowest use of mobile phones to share pictures.
  • Respondents in the United States are least likely to have asked someone out on a date via SMS (44%). Respondents in China (84%), Germany (84%) and Vietnam (83%) are most likely to have used SMS texts to ask someone out on a date.
  • Generation Y in both China and the United States share a disdain for printed newspapers. 53% of respondents in the United States and 57% of respondents in China rarely or never read physical newspapers.
  • Watch your privacy policies. Respondents in South Africa (49%) and the United States (44%) were somewhat to very uncomfortable sharing their personal information online.

Last week ReadWriteWeb reported that YouTube use on mobile devices has been on the rise — 75% of surveyed mobile YouTube users saying that their mobile device is the primary way of accessing YouTube (YouTube Mobile Use Exploding: 75% Report Mobile is Primary Way of Watching YouTube ). This number, however, should be considered in context. Only users of the mobile version of YouTube (typically the YouTube app installed on a phone) were surveyed, so you can expect a far larger percentage of respondents relying on the mobile version as opposed to the general public. This doesn’t, for example, track the users who might come across a page on your site with your corporate YouTube video. Since YouTube is often used for casual surfing, not so much business use, it makes sense that a meme discussed over beers with friends might result in a smartphone popping out to track down the video everyone is referencing.

Brian Solis was kind enough to take the data from the Ad-ology report, Twitter Users in the United States, and distill it down to some manageable chunks of data in his post Who are All of These Tweeple? In short, Twitter users tend to range between 18 and 34 (which is a big range) are white and have at least some college education. Again, cross-referencing with the data we’ve gathered from other surveys, we see a continuation of some trends toward younger more savvy users. There aren’t lots of surprises in the report, but there are some numbers that can at least provide a little more detail to what we already expect. For example:

57.7% of Twitter users use the Internet more than three hours per day for personal use (outside of school or work) and are considered “heavy Internet users.”

Back in June Nielsen released a report with a telling title: Social Networks/Blogs Now Account for One in Every Four and a Half Minutes Online. Four of the most popular destinations on the web are Google, Facebook, Youtube and Wikipedia. All of these enjoy a lot of use from users on mobile devices (well, perhaps not so much Wikipedia, but people are still looking things up in bars after tracking down the YouTube video). While the article is silent on mobile use, a skilled reader can apply mobile trends to the overall traffic and begin to see part of the reason mobile has been climbing.

If you believe this article from June, Social Media is the 3rd Era of the Web, then you can expect to see the numbers of social media sites to continue to climb and ages of users continue to stay young, even as older users get on board. As part of that, mobile use will continue to climb as people want to stay socially connected wherever they are.

The trick among reports and studies is to figure out how the data was gathered, who performed the gathering, why they did it and who participated. If you can validate that a study has any merit, then you can start to cross-reference it with other reports and piles of data to tease out some meaning.

Related Links


It seems the day after Thanksgiving is a good day for people to post more details about Internet use. I won’t distill them here (I haven’t had a chance to read them in detail), but here are a couple more chunks of stats and data to review while you digest.

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