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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tweeting, Instant Reactions, and Computer Use

At AP, Beth Fouhy writes of Twitter's role in the political role of mass media:
Rick Perry had barely gotten through his gaffe in Wednesday's Republican primary debate when a rolling commentary on the TV screen declared his campaign on life support.
“Perry is done,” came a Twitter posting from a viewer called @PatMcPsu, even while the Texas governor struggled to name the third of three federal agencies he said he would eliminate as president. Another, called (at)sfiorini, messaged, “Whoa? Seriously, Rick Perry? He can't even name the agencies he wants to abolish. Wow. Just wow.”
Perry insists his campaign isn't over and has vowed to move on from his meltdown.
One used to have to wait for several minutes after the debate ended for analysis of the 2012 presidential contest. But if Wednesday's exchange is any indication, social networking has become the instant punditry. The 140-character messages known as tweets came from ordinary viewers and prominent campaign strategists alike.
A new report from the US Commerce Department provides data on computer and Internet usage at home:
  • As of October 2010, more than 68 percent of households used broadband Internet access service, up from 64 percent one year earlier . Approximately 80 percent of households had at least one Internet user, either at home or elsewhere.
  • Cable modem (32 percent) and DSL (23 percent) ranked as the most commonly used broadband technologies (Section 3.1, Figure 3). Other technologies, including mobile broadband, fiber optics, and satellite services, accounted for a small, but growing, segment of households with broadband Internet access service.
  • Over three-fourths (77 percent) of households had a computer – the principal means by which households access the Internet – compared with 62 percent in 2003. Low computer use correlates with low broadband adoption rates.
  • Broadband Internet adoption, as well as computer use, varied across demographic and geographic groups. Lower income families, people with less education, those with disabilities, Blacks, Hispanics, and rural residents generally lagged the national average in both broadband adoption and computer use. For example, home broadband adoption and computer use stood at only 16 percent and 27 percent, respectively, among rural households headed by a Black householder without a high school diploma
  • Also, households with school-age children exhibited higher broadband adoption and computer use rates than other households.