The emergence of next generation internet users

  • William H. Dutton
  • Grant Blank
Original Paper


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.


Mobile Phone Mobile Device Social Networking Site Internet User Smart Phone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. American Association of Public Opinion Researchers (2011) Standard definitions: Final dispositions of case codes and outcome rates for surveys. 7th edition. Accessed 2 September 2011
  2. Blank G, Dutton WH (2011) Age and trust in the internet: The centrality of experience and attitudes toward technology in Britain, Social Science Computer Review: Accessed 23 August 2013
  3. Danziger JN et al (1982) Computers and politics: High technology in american local governments. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Dutton WH (1999) Society on the line: Information politics in the digital age. Oxford University Press, Oxford and New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Dutton WH (2005) The internet and social transformation: Reconfiguring access. In: Dutton WH, Kahin B, O’Callaghan R, Wyckoff AW (eds) Transforming enterprise. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 375–397Google Scholar
  6. Dutton WH, Shepherd A (2006) Trust in the Internet as an experience technology. Information, Communication and Society 9(4):433–451Google Scholar
  7. Dutton WH, Blank G (2011) Next generation users: The Internet in Britain. Oxford Internet Survey 2011. Oxford Internet Institute: University of OxfordGoogle Scholar
  8. Haddon L (2006) The contribution of domestication research to in-home computing and media consumption. Inform Soc 22:195–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Haddon L (2007) Roger Silverstone’s legacies: domestication. New Media Soc 9:25–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Haddon L (2011) Domestication analysis, objects of study, and the centrality of technologies in everyday life. Can J Comm 36:311–323Google Scholar
  11. King R (2012) Great PC exodus on the Internet. ZDNet. Posted 29 October 2012. Accessed 23 November 2012
  12. Lessig L (1999) Code and other laws of cyberspace. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Livingstone S (1992) The meaning of domestic technologies: A personal construct analysis of familial gender relations. In: Silverstone R, Hirsch E (eds) Consuming technologies: Media and information in domestic spaces. Routledge, London, pp 113–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mayer-Schönberger V (2008) Demystifying Lessig. Wis Law Rev 4:713–746Google Scholar
  15. Perlow J (2012) Post-PC means mass extinction for personal computer OEMs. ZDNet. Posted 31 May 2012. Accessed 23 November 2012
  16. Punie Y (1997) Rejections of ICT in Flemish households. The why-not question. In: Silverstone R, Hartmann M (eds) EMTEL working paper no. 3. Media and Information technology: Regulating markets & everyday life. University of Sussex, Brighton, pp 46–72Google Scholar
  17. Rogers EM (1962) Diffusion of innovations. The Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. Silverstone R (1996) Future imperfect: Information and communication technologies in everyday life. In: Dutton WH (ed) Information and communication technologies – Visions and realities. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 217–231Google Scholar
  19. Silverstone R (2005) Introduction. In: Silverstone R (ed) Media, technology and everyday life in Europe. Ashgate Press, Aldershot, pp 1–18Google Scholar
  20. Silverstone R (2006) Domesticating domestication: Reflections on the life of a concept. In: Berker T, Hartmann M, Punie Y, Ward KJ (eds) Domestication of media and technology. Open University Press, Berkshire, pp 229–248Google Scholar
  21. Silverstone R, Hirsch E, Morley D (1992) Information and communication technologies and the moral economy of the household. In: Silverstone R, Hirsch E (eds) Consuming technologies: Media and information in domestic spaces. Routledge, London, pp 15–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wei R (2001) From luxury to utility: a longitudinal analysis of cell phone laggards. Journalism Mass Comm Q 78:702–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Poland WIP (2011) World Internet Project Poland 2011. Agora S.A. and TP Group, WarsawGoogle Scholar
  24. Zittrain J (2008) The future of the internet and how to stop it. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oxford Internet InstituteUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations