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America Offline? Study Says 15% of U.S. Adults Don't Use Internet
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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In today's media, journos and flacks alike live online. They thrive on reaching people via the Internet. Don't believe me? Spend one day...hell, one hour...without your smartphone and see how dumb you become. That said, imagine my surprise when I read this latest study from the Pew Research Center that says 15 percent of U.S. adults do not use the Internet. You know? Still! 

According to its report "Pew Internet & American Life Project," it is not just about demography. I considered my grandmother who is 89 and doesn't use email and isn't big on trolling search engines, but does her banking and books flights online. I know socioeconomics keeps this number from ever becoming an absolute zero. Some families can't afford a PC, an Internet connection, or real estate among the living where modems exist. However, some of these numbers are staggering:
  • 34 percent of nonusers feel “the Internet is just not relevant to them, saying they are not interested, do not want to use it, or have no need for it.”
  • 32 percent of non-Internet users cited difficulty with using the Internet, saying “it is difficult or frustrating to go online, they are physically unable, or they are worried about other issues such as spam, spyware and hackers.”
  • 19 percent of non-Internet users said owning a computer or getting an Internet connection was too expensive.
  • 7 percent of non-Internet users “cited a physical lack of availability or access to the Internet.”
Again, look into demography — be it physical, economical, social, or emotional abilities — and you will find that some people may want to use the Internet, but just can't, or simply don't have access to a library card. 
  • 54 percent said they have “asked a friend or family member to look something up or complete a task on the Internet for them."
  • 23 percent of “offline adults” live in a house where somebody else uses the Internet.
  • 14 percent said they have used the Internet in the past, “but have since stopped for some reason.”
Much like the proverbial old dog, the Internet is still a new trick, so it's unlikely said canine will start using it now. If you have created a life without the Internet, big props. So, could you do it? I don't know if I could but I will look up the trends on Google and report back next week. 

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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