The emergence of next generation internet users

Original Paper

Abstract

The Internet is central to the new media, but the Internet is itself a dynamic technology that is constantly evolving as users adopt and reject new features, devices and applications and use them in ways that are often unanticipated. This article is anchored in longitudinal survey data on how Britons use the Internet, which illuminates the emergence of new patterns of accessing the Internet over multiple devices—some of which are portable—in everyday life and work. We call those who adopt this new approach ‘next generation users’. In contrast, first generation users remain anchored to one or more personal computers in the household or workplace for accessing the Internet. The analysis shows how this emerging pattern of access is reshaping the use and impact of the Internet, such as in supporting the production of user generated content. The analysis also shows how next generation access is socially distributed; creating a new digital divide that reinforces socioeconomic inequalities. Future research needs to move beyond the study of access to the Internet to track the diffusion of next generation access and its implications across a wider array of nations.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oxford Internet InstituteUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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