Net Users Unfamiliar With Jargon

    July 21, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Apparently, not everyone has an innate knowledge of all the terms, acronyms, names, and abbreviations associated with the Internet.

The researchers at the Pew Internet and American Life Project have found US Internet users may think “phishing” is a misspelling in a Cabela’s catalog and podcasts were props in the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Incidentally, that movie is being remade, with a 2006 release date planned.

Even though the country has become more wired, with many more high-speed connections, most users have been slow to pick up on the rapidly changing lingua franca of the Internet.

While that might be cause for a hearty chuckle among tech types over their morning breakfast of cold pizza and Diet Coke, it does pose a concern when online security is a factor. Someone who doesn’t know about phishing might fall victim to the next scam that enters their mailbox.

In the Pew study, researcher Lee Rainie has found that nearly everyone has a good idea what spam is (88 percent), but RSS has a lot of people scratching their heads (65 percent “not really sure”).

Younger males (18-29) with broadband connections at home tend to be the most aware of new terms and their meanings. Older users 65 and over did not have the same grasp of terms surveyed by Pew for this study.

With more older Americans going online, security and operating system companies should be working to make the older population more aware of the potential abuses that could await online. The same criminals who would be pulling the “pigeon drop” in 1935 are spamming inboxes with phishing emails today.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.