Computer Use

…It’s How You Use It

Not A Pretty Librarian has kicked things off well with a first post titled “It Is Not A Tool,” covering an argument about which has more value to a teenager: a car or a computer.

On one side is the notion that “She can’t drive herself to work with a computer.” While, on the other side is the growing likelihood that she won’t drive to work at all, but instead simply work at whatever computer she has available. But then, this is a teenager, and maybe practical matters like work don’t top the list. And that’s where Not A Pretty Librarian (who are you?) asks:

Can you imagine being nineteen right now without computer access?

Indeed, when college students are spending so much time on AIM and logging into Facebook daily, is a car really as important as a computer in a teenager’s social life? When 89 percent of students start their research in a search engine, isn’t the computer more important than a car to get to the library?

Our Connected Students

Just when you thought I was done talking about how the internet really does touch everything, Lichen posts some details from the most recent University of New Hampshire Res Life student survey and it gets me going again. In order, the top three activities are:

  • socializing (15.8 hours/week)
     
  • studying, excluding in-class time (12.5 hours/week)
     
  • instant messaging, (9.3 hours/week)

Lichen also points out that IM activity was reported separately from “personal internet use,” which got an additional 8.4 hours/week.

The survey doesn’t appear to be online, so I can’t tell how many other computer-related activities are reported or how activities like “studying” may (or may not) also include computer use.

The Bathroom Reader

Somebody at Gizmodo found this Agence France-Presse story about the intersection of American surfing and bathroom habits in The Hindustan Times. It’s based on a report by the USC Annenberg School‘s Center for the Digital Future. For five years running now, the center has tracked internet use (and non-use) in a 2,000 household representative sample of America (choosing a new sample each year).

This year, researchers found: “Over half of those who used Wi-fi had used it in the bathroom.”

Gizmodo is going a little farther than I’d initially care to by asking readers to comment on their behavior, but I found this gem that reminds us that this may just reflect the evolution of our media: “The laptop in the john is the new newspaper for the millennium.”

I apparently have too many neatnik issues to go down that path, but rather than devolve the discussion, I’d like to point out that this Center for the Digital Future report appears to be a good complement to OCLC’s latest report and the regular stream of reports from the Pew Internet Project.

Now back to the funny: RSStroom Reader.