Dynamist Blog


MSNBC.com has an interesting report on a Pew Internet and American Life Project study of regional variations in Internet use.

The study underscores one of the Pew project's key themes, which is that the online world is more diverse and idiosyncratic than it is often portrayed, and users often mold online habits to their interests and needs.

"You can't look at the Internet as a monolithic thing anymore," says Tom Spooner, the report's principal author. "It's more helpful to take a nuanced view."

One sidelight: The report separates the "South" (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia), a national low of 48 percent of adults have Internet access, from the "Southeast" (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida), where the figure is 57 percent, one point between the Mid-Atlantic (NY, Penn., NJ, maybe Delaware) and the Industrial Midwest (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin). The division makes sense--with the arguable exception of Tennessee, it's the New booming South vs. the Old still poor South--but it creates a false lead for the story: " When it comes to Internet use, at least, the East Coast and West Coast rule. By contrast, fewer than half of all Southerners go online."

Only if you use a definition so narrow that Fort Sumter is no longer in the South. For more information, see the Pew site.

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