Monthly Archives: August 2010

Is Twitter Invaluable…or Un-valuable?

Enjoy Twitter but not willing to pay for it? You’re not alone. In fact, researchers at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found that, while 49 percent of Internet users surveyed had used Twitter or a similar free micro-blogging service before, zero percent would be willing to pay to use Twitter in the future. That’s right: Zero. Zilch. Nada.

“Such an extreme finding that produced a zero response underscores the difficulty of getting Internet users to pay for anything that they already receive for free,” said Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at the Annenberg School.

The 2010 Digital Future Study is the 10th such study performed by faculty and students at the Annenberg School. “Beginning with our first Digital Future Study in 2000, and in every year since, we have found extraordinary levels of shifting views,” Cole explains, as well as “evolving attitudes about technology.”

Over that time, the number of Americans going online has climbed from 67 percent to 82 percent, the average time spent online has grown from 9.4 hours to 19 hours per week, and broadband use has jumped from 10 percent to 82 percent among home-based Internet users.

In addition to its Twitter-related findings, the 2010 study found…

65 percent of adult Internet users buy online, making an average of just over 35 purchases per year. Books, clothes, gifts, travel, and electronics/appliances round out the top five categories of products bought online.

78 percent of respondents consider the Internet an important or very important source of information, compared to just 56 percent for newspapers. However, 61 percent said that only half or less than half of the information available online is reliable.

70 percent of respondents found Internet advertising “annoying,” and less than half ever click on online ads. However, 55 percent said they would rather put up with the ads than have to pay for content.

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