Pew Research has just unveiled the results of a massive survey about the internet to mark the 25th anniversary of the creation of the World Wide Web. It's dense, and there's a lot to comb through, but I think the question from Pew that is best suited for such a retrospective is this:
"Overall, when you add up all the advantages and disadvantages of the internet, would you say the internet has mostly been a good thing or a bad thing for society?"
And the resounding answer from the American people is...a good thing.
76 percent of those surveyed said that the internet has been a good thing for society. Only 8 percent think that it's been a bad thing for humanity as a whole. 15 percent think that it's a combination of both good and bad. The ability to connect with people thousands of miles away when you would have never been able to do so otherwise–good. Crappy YouTube comments–bad. That kind of thing, I guess.
Pew then asked a similar, but tweaked question: “Overall, when you add up all the advantages and disadvantages of the internet, would you say the internet has mostly been a good thing or a bad thing for you?”
To that prompt, 90 percent of the people surveyed said the internet is a good them for them. I'm chalking the 14 percent discrepancy up to porn–good for me, bad for society's productivity.
Overall, Pew found that 87 percent of Americans use the internet –up from 79 percent back in 2010. Also, the internet is now at the top of the list of things people would have a hard time giving up–saying it would be more difficult than giving up their cellphones or television.
No one tell Bill O'Reilly.
Go check out the rest of the report here. It's rather fascinating.
Image via KnowYourMeme