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Q: Reasons why people use the internet ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Reasons why people use the internet
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: dho1115-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 06 Mar 2005 23:02 PST
Expires: 06 Apr 2005 00:02 PDT
Question ID: 485988
I was wondering if there was any research or information available as
to the main reasons why people use the internet, or what do people
spend most of their time doing on the internet (e.g.:
researching/looking for information, chatting, e-mailing,
buying/purchasing). Also, is it possible to rank them, in terms of
what do people spend most of their time doing on the internet, to what
do they spend the least amount of their time doing.
Subject: Re: Reasons why people use the internet
Answered By: rainbow-ga on 07 Mar 2005 03:04 PST
Hi dho1115,

The following is the result of my research for the various reasons
people use the internet.

Reasons why people use the internet

***To find general information about a subject
"The Web is like a huge encyclopedia of information - in some ways
it's even better. The volume of information you'll find on the Web is
amazing. For every topic that you've ever wondered about, there's
bound to be someone who's written a Web page about it. The Web offers
many different perspectives on a single topic."
***To access information not easily available elsewhere
"One of the great things about the Web is that it puts information
into your hands that you might otherwise have to pay for or find out
by less convenient means."

***To correspond with faraway friends
"Email offers a cheap and easy alternative to traditional methods of
correspondence. It's faster and easier than writing snail mail and
cheaper than using the telephone."

***To meet people
"The Web is generally a very friendly place. People love getting email
from strangers, and friendships are quick to form from casual
correspondence. The "impersonal" aspect of email tends to encourage
people to reveal surprisingly personal things about themselves. When
you know you will never have to meet someone face-to-face, you may
find it easier to tell them your darkest secrets. Cyber-friendships
have often developed into real life ones too. Many people have even
found love on the Net, and have gone on to marry their cyber-partner."
***To discuss their interests with like-minded people
"Did you think you were alone in your obsession with a singer, TV
programme, author, hobby? Chances are there's and Internet group for
people like you, discussing every little detail of your obsession
right now."

***To chat
"Chatting is a synchronous form of communication. You don't have to
wait for someone to reply to you - the conversation is in real-time,
just like a normal conversation except using text instead of spoken

***To have fun (games)
"There's no doubt that the Internet is a fun place to be. There's
plenty to keep you occupied on a rainy day."

***To learn
"On-line distance education courses can give you an opportunity to
gain a qualification over the Internet"

***To read the news 

***To find software
"The Internet contains a wealth of useful downloadable software."  

***To buy things
"The security of on-line shopping is still questionable, but as long
as you are dealing with a reputable company or Web Site the risks are

***Work-related purposes (and/or working from home)

"FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is just a way to transfer files from
computer to computer on the Internet. You might typically use it to
transfer a Web page from your computer (where you are writing it) to a
Web server so it can be accessed by the world, or you may use it to
download a file from a public archive."

***Writing Web Pages (also includes Blogs - Weblogs)

Source: Internet Tutorial - Using the Internet


Ten Years After the Birth of the Internet, How Do Americans Use the
Internet in Their Daily


Results of a survey conducted in June 2004 that indicates how
Americans spend their time in

Internet related activities. Some findings of note are:

? ?The average Internet user spends close to 3 hours per day online.
This exceeds the time that an average respondent spends watching TV,
which is about 1.7 hours per day.
? The Internet has become a serious work tool?about a third of the
time on the Internet is at work.
? The Internet is, perhaps more than anything else, a means of
communication ? about 57 % of the time spent on the Internet is spend
on email, instant messaging, or at chat rooms. Of this 57 %,
work-related communications constitute about a third, communication
with friends constitutes almost a third, and communication with family
constitutes a sixth.
? ? The remaining 43% of the time on the Internet- that is, the time
online not spent on some type of communication -- is spent playing
games (20.3 % of the 43% or about 8.7% of the total), surfing (15% of
the 43%), shopping (10% of the 43%), among a variety of other things.?

Source: Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society
(SIQSS), January 3, 2005
Cited on

The full report can be downloaded here:


"According to findings from a Jupiter Research (a unit of this site's
corporate parent) September 2002 report conducted among 4,341
Americans, 35 percent of Internet surfers are using AOL for access,
and the primary activity for 93 percent of the respondents was e-mail.
While the research indicates that Internet users are relying on the
Web for increasingly more sophisticated activities ? online banking
and bill paying, research, and software downloads ? many are still
nascent users that were lured by the ease of AOL and increased
pressure to correspond via e-mail."
"Jupiter found that the online activities conducted monthly or more
frequently can be grouped into the following categories:
communication/community, information/utility, commerce/consumer,
career/financial, and entertainment/media."

Top Online Activities, Sept 2002 
E-mail                              93% 
Search engine                       79% 
Research products/services          63% 
Local information                   60% 
Contests/sweepstakes                59% 
News                                53% 
Instant messaging                   52% 
E-greetings/postcards               52% 
Online bill viewing                 48% 
Online newspaper                    46% 
Online phone directory              46% 
Health                              46% 
Travel research                     45% 
Chat                                41% 
Work research                       38% 
Free software downloads             38% 
Online banking                      36% 
Online bill payment                 34% 
Job classifieds                     33% 
Music site viewing                  32% 
Online audio listening              32% 

ClickZ: American Surfers Keep It Simple


Internet Activities
About 63% of American adults go online. That translates into
approximately 128 million people.
On the following site you can see the kinds of things they do.

Pew Internet & American Life Project Tracking surveys (March 2000 - present)
Last updated: June 30, 2004


Daily Internet Activities
On an average day, about 68 million American adults go online.  
On the following site you can see the kinds of things they do on a typical day.

Pew Internet & American Life Project Tracking surveys (March 2000 - present)
Last updated: June 30, 2004


An interesting article, although a little outdated:

National Telecommunications and Information Administration
A NATION ONLINE: How Americans Are Expanding Their Use Of The Internet 
Chapter 3: Online Activities


"BURST! recently undertook a survey of over 14,000 Internet users who
were either currently employed or a student to gain insight into their
use of the Internet while at work or school. The study focused on the
types of task people use the Internet for while at work or school, the
reasons why they use the Internet while at work or school and lastly
their view on the appropriateness of using the Internet for personal
reasons while at work or school..."

The entire survey can be found here:
Burst Media


Search criteria:

reasons why people use the internet
statistics OR surveys internet usage
ranking reasons "internet usage"
reasons "use the internet" OR "internet usage"
"use the internet" OR "internet usage"
"internet activity" ranking 
"reasons people use the internet"
survey "top online activities"
survey "time spent on the internet" activity
survey "top online activities"
survey "top * online activities"

I hope the information provided is helpful. If you have any questions
regarding my answer please don?t hesitate to ask before rating.

Best regards,
Subject: Re: Reasons why people use the internet
From: ddhara-ga on 07 Mar 2005 05:02 PST
   It was great seeing your reply... very informative. But I have a
comment here... why are most of the data pointed towards America... is
it because that there is not enough data available for the rest of the

Subject: Re: Reasons why people use the internet
From: rainbow-ga on 07 Mar 2005 06:46 PST
While searching for the information, I did not specify which countries
I wanted the data for (as you may note in my search criteria). You are
correct in assuming that most of the available data covers the US
internet usage. I have, however, found one more piece of data that
compares the general internet activities of China and the UK.

I hope that helps.

Best regards,

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