Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Internet Adoption Plateaus in US


BusinessWeek has an article discussing predictions that Internet adoption is slowing and is only expected to reach 67% of the US population by 2009.

The article doesn't assume that people who don't like the Internet are Luddites or stupid. Some people who have used the Internet before simply find it a waste of time and money.

Indeed, it goes to pains to point out how our lives can be impoverished by an uncritical acceptance of technology.

For [some], the Internet is an example of what author Neil Postman called "the surrender of culture to technology." From Silicon Valley engineers to teenage geeks, tech enthusiasts see only what the Net can do, not what it might undo.

But James J. Mitchell, a retired banking executive from suburban Chicago, believes the Web dismantles face-to-face communication. He's part of the 18% of households that, according to the Parks survey, have a computer but aren't interested in "anything" on the Internet.

Though Mitchell oversaw his company's tech strategy a few years ago, he never used e-mail at work. Instead he watched people become enslaved to it. Mitchell says most messages were trivial and undermined the more intimate forms of communication he favors -- in person or on the phone. "If you want to talk to me, you should do it personally," he says. "I don't need to sit and read every idle thought you rattle off."|BusinessWeek|

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