Don't call it America Off-line anymore, and don't call it America OnHold. Despite what John C. Dvorak says, America Online is in great shape as we head into 1999. AOL's acquisition of Netscape makes it even more of a superpower, and the company is convinced that Americans who are online are loving it and eager to do more. How does it know? It asked them.
On December 3rd, AOL released the results of a Roper Starch survey of 1,001 adult Americans who subscribe to online and Internet services from home. The intriguing results, which fill 72 pages of charts and graphs, contain interesting insights into what people who use the Internet really think of it, and how they integrate the Web into their daily lives. Here are some statistics that caught my eye. Take a look, and see how your opinions compare with those below.
44 percent say the Internet is a necessity to them, and 77 percent believe it has made their lives better. 87 percent say they would miss the Web if it were gone.
87 percent say they go online regularly to communicate with family and friends, and 94 percent say the Internet makes things easier than the methods of communication they used before.
The five top things people do online: research any kind of information, communicate with friends and family, get news, find information about products to buy, purchase things related to a hobby.
47 percent believe that being online has a more positive influence on their children than watching television.
79 percent say that the computer is the most important invention of the 20th century.
What would users prefer to take to a desert island if they could have only one technology? 67 percent say an Internet-connected computer, 23 percent say a telephone, and 9 percent say a television.
30 percent say that they regularly or occasionally meet new people with common interests online. 91 percent of those people say it's easier to meet people this way than in the real world.
65 percent of the interactive population is over 35, but it's younger than the general population. 22 percent of the online crowd is 50 years old or older, whereas 35 percent of the entire population is over 50.
69 percent say that it's important for children to know how to go online and use the Internet.
80 percent of parents say they sometimes go online with their kids, and 35 percent of parents say their kids actually help them online.
Who would subscribers most like to engage in a private chat with online? 22 percent said a friend or family member. As for celebrities: 12 percent would chat with President Clinton, 3 percent with Bill Gates, 2 percent with the Pope, and 2 percent with Hillary Clinton. Among celebrities scoring 1 percent: Newt Gingrich, Billy Graham, Stephen Hawking, Michael Jordan, Monica Lewinsky, Colin Powell, Ronald Reagan, Steven Spielberg, and Oprah Winfrey.