SiliconFilter

77% of U.S. Teens Now Own Cell Phones, Most Send at Least 60 Text Messages per Day

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About three quarters of U.S. teens (77%) now have a cell phone. This number is, according to a new report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, up slightly from September 2009 (75%). Looking back to 2004, though, it’s clear how this number has increased dramatically over the last few years. In late 2004, only 45% of teens had cell phones. The interesting trend here, though, is that 80% of older teens (14-17) now own mobile phones (and 31% of these older teens own smartphones), but that the number of younger teens with cell phones has actually dropped a bit (57% vs. 66%).

Unsurprisingly, teens from households with a higher income are more likely to own cell phones and while 83% of suburban kids now own a mobile phone, only 69% of kids in urban areas and 73% in rural areas own one.

The Pew study did not find a statistically relevant difference between boys and girls when it comes to cell phone ownership, but when it comes to texting, girls are still far heavier users than boys. The median number of texts per girl in this study was closer to 90, while boys only send about 50 (the mean numbers, it’s worth noting, are far higher and also far closer to each other: 165 for girls and 168 for boys).  Unsurprisingly, those teens who send the most texts are also more likely to own a smartphone.

As for old-fashioned voice calls, teens – just like the rest of us – are slowly making fewer calls and most teens report that they mostly use text messages to socialize with the people in their lives:

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10:23 am


Why Social Media is Cooking in Emerging Markets

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The Arab Spring, the Slavic Spring and the Iranian Twitter revolution all proved how deeply engrained the use of social media is in emerging market countries. But did you know that their rate of engagement with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube is growing a whole lot faster than that of developed markets?


This post first appeared on Memeburn and was written by Michelle Atagana. Memeburn is an award-winning site based in South Africa that tracks emerging technologies primarily in emerging markets, including the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. SiliconFilter occasionally features relevant posts from MemeBurn.


Social media penetration is on the rise in emerging markets. A recent report from research and analysis site, eMarketer.com, looking at three studies from Pew Research Center, TNSDigitallife and Brazilian-based F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi on social media usage and how it is aiding brand awareness in emerging market territories.

Pew research social media

Last year eMarketer estimated worldwide social network ad revenues would surpass US$8-billion by the end of 2012, allocating just under half of that figure to the United States. “Non-US revenues were expected to grow faster, as marketers attempt to increase brand awareness, market share, and profits in fast-growth countries like Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) and beyond,” says the research and analysis site.

Social media penetration in large emerging market regions such as the BRIC territories and countries Mexico and Indonesia, currently ranges from 56% to 86% of internet users, according to Pew Research Center’s “Global Digital Communication: Texting, Social Networking Popular Worldwide”. The highest figures go to Indonesia and Russia, at 86% for each in May 2011, up from 63% and 76%, respectively in 2010 — though F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi research reveals Brazil’s internet penetration reached 93% as of August 2011.

Brazil social network

Pew’s research further finds that in some markets, especially those with relatively low overall internet penetration, social network usage is higher than the US’s 60% of internet users. Notably in the past year, social media usage in Egypt has grown from 18% in 2010 to 28% in 2011.

A key point revealed by these studies is the way social media is being used in these regions and what it means for the emerging world. Last year’s social media revolutions may have woken the world up to the role social media can play in times of unrest, but also showed how important social media can be when it comes to consumer behaviour.

According to the TNS “Digital Life 2011″ study, social media marketing is more effective in emerging markets than more established ones. The study shows that users in “BRIC, Indonesia and Mexico were more likely to view social networks as a good place to learn about and buy brands and products than users in developed markets like Canada, the UK and the US”.

eMarketer explains the difference in growth between emerging markets and developed markets using an “experienced consumer” analogy. According to eMarketer, developed market users “are accustomed to third-party eCommerce sites and payment methods, and look to social networks mainly for keeping up with friends. In emerging markets, eCommerce is untested and new; and knowing the person or brand, even virtually, can engender more trust among users.”

The report speculates that the reason emerging market users engage more with brands on social media is due to “higher levels of trust” in these regions, which allows social networks to play a bigger role in the purchase cycle. Online shopping is still a relatively new idea in most emerging markets, being able to engage with brands on social media platforms helps build user confidence.

In the TNS report, Larry Bruck, senior vice president of global media and marketing operations at Kellogg Company, says “Digital is a business enabler, not just a marketing enabler.” Using the emerging world as example, Bruck explains that social media, not just online media, provides an opportunity to foster new business for savvy brands.



10:17 am


Good Riddance: IE6 Usage Falls to Under 1% in U.S.

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According to the latest data from Net Applications, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6, the browser that overstayed its welcome for many years, is finally in its last throes. Usage of IE6, which officially launched 10 years ago, has now fallen to under 1% in the United States. While American users hung on to IE6 for longer than other nations like Austria, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway, it's good to see IE6 usage drop from 4.2% in December 2010 to 0.9% in 2011. As Microsoft itself notes today, this hopefully means that "more developers and IT Pros can consider IE6 a “low-priority” at this point and stop spending their time having to support such an outdated browser."

Just about nine month ago, Microsoft launched its own IE6 Countdown site to track the demise of IE6. Over the last year, the worldwide usage of IE6 has dropped 6 percentage point. It's worth noting, though, that around the world, 7.7% of all Internet users are still using this completely outdate (and insecure) browser.

The majority of these users come from China, where IE6 still has a whopping 25% market share. In virtually every other country, Microsoft's old browser now holds under 5% of the market.

Internet Explorer 6 Countdown | Death to IE 6 | IE6 Countdown



4:54 pm


U.S. Adults Text More, But Growth is Slowing

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When it comes to using text messaging, Americans used to lag behind the rest of the world. Now, however, it looks as if U.S. cell phone owners are doing their best to catch up with other nations. According to a new PEW Internet and American Life Project study, 73% of all adults in the U.S. who own a cell phone (that’s 83% of all adults, by the way) now use text messaging. Among those, 31% prefer texting over making voice calls (I definitely fall into that category). Unsurprisingly, a higher percentage of those who text the most also tend to prefer texting over voice calls. Overall, though, the growth in the number of average texts send per adult (41.5) is slowing after a major growth boom between the Fall of 2009 and the Spring of 2010 (29.7 to 39.1).

Text messaging average per day 1

Younger and Older Adults Turn to Text Messaging

There is a clear delineation between how often young adults and older users utilize their text messaging plans, though. The actual numbers for adults between the ages of 18 and 24 are actually quite staggering: they reportedly send 3,200 text per month on average and clearly skew the average number in this study. Virtually all the younger users (95%) in this survey use text messaging on their phones.

It’s not just the younger adults who use SMS. Even those over 35 still send close to 26 messages a day on average (here, too, the most active users are skewing the numbers – the median is 10) and even those over 65 still send 4.7 SMS messages per day (median of 2).

It’s worth noting, though, that these numbers are self-reported (do you know exactly how many messages you sent last month?). Overall, self-reported data is often somewhat unreliable, so I would take this data with a grain of salt. What’s clear, though, is that texting is about as mainstream as it gets today, but it’s definitely not growing as rapidly as it was just a year ago.

Pew texting survey numbers adults

 

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8:15 pm


Everything You Need to Know About Spotify’s U.S. Launch (Updated)

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After years of rumors, Europe’s favorite streaming music service Spotify has launched in the U.S.

What is Spotify?

Spotify is a streaming music service that offers on-demand music streaming. Unlike customizable Internet radio services like Pandora, Spotify allows you to pick and choose exactly what songs you want to listen to. Spotify offers a catalog of over 15 million songs.

There are currently a number of similar services in the U.S., including Rdio, MOG and Rhapsody. What makes Spotify stand out is that it also offers a free, ad-supported version, while most of its competitors only offer short trials before users have to pay.

How Can I Get it?

Spotify is now open for business, but you either need to be deemed an “influencer” to get a free accounts or get a paid account (more details about those below). To see if you qualify for an invite, head over to Klout to see if you qualify.Klout is giving away about 100,000 free accounts this way. Just enter your Twitter or Facebook credentials and Klout will let you know if you qualify.

If you are willing to pay, you can skip the line and get an account at any time. If you want to wait for a free account but didn’t qualify for the Klout promotion, just give Spotify your email address and they will let you know when a space in the U.S. beta opens up.

What’s so Great About it?

A couple of things make Spotify stand out from its competition – besides the free tier. First of all, Spotify features a strong social component. Users can share playlists with friends or subscribe to other users’ public playlists (and see updates to these in real time). MOG offers a similar feature, but it’s severely limited in comparison with Spotify’s implementation. Spotify also integrates with Facebook and lets you discover what your friends are listening to on the service.

Spotify also offers great native clients for both Windows and OS X, as well as mobile clients for virtually all the major platforms, including iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Symbian and the Palm Pre series.

Spotify uses a peer-to-peer architecture similar to Skype that uses a little bit of space on its users’ computers to cache popular songs and a little bit of every user’s bandwidth to serve these songs to nearby users. Thanks to this, songs play immediately, just like you would expect from your local iTunes library.

Talking about iTunes, Spotify also gives you access to your iTunes library right from its own app, meaning you don’t have to switch back and forth between the two.

Brilliant, But What Does it Cost?

Spotify offers a three-tier pricing structure:

Free: the free version will be limited to 20 hours of use for the first six months after a user signs up. After that, the limit will become 10 hours per month. No song can be listened to more than 5 times.

$5/month (Unlimited): the basic paid plan gives users unlimited, ad-free access to Spotify’s full library on the desktop.

$10/month (Premium): this plan includes full desktop access, as well as mobile access (which includes offline caching on the mobile device) and access to higher quality audio streams at 320 kbps (all songs are encoded in the Ogg Vorbis format). One important perk of this plan is also that you can use the service abroad for more than 14 days. In Europe, Spotify also often allows its premium users to get early access to some albums before they become available to other users.



3:44 am


News Organizations Want You To Read Sarah Palin’s Emails For Them

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Tomorrow, the State of Alaska will release 24,000 emails that Sarah Palin sent during her tenure as governor of Alaska. A number of media organizations and individuals made record requests for these documents in September 2008. Even though these are emails, though, the State of Alaska will only make them available on paper. In total, there will be six heavy boxes of paper that will contain emails Palin wrote from the beginning of her tenure in 2007 through September 2008. A massive amount of information like this is something even the largest news organizations can only handle when they get the documents ahead of time and under embargo (as was the case with Wikileaks). Because of this, a number of organizations, including the New York Times and the Washington Post are crowdsourcing their efforts to cover these documents. (more…)



6:43 pm


Programming Error Invalidates U.S. Green Card Lottery Results

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The U.S. State Department just announced that it has invalidated the results of this year’s Green Card lottery (officially the 2012 Diversity Lottery), which gives a set number of randomly drawn winners a permanent residency card to live and work in the United States. The mistake is especially embarrassing given that the State Department had already informed this year’s winners. Now, however, this notice has been rescinded and is no longer valid.

According to the State Department’s statement, the results were invalidated because “a computer programming error resulted in a selection that was not truly random. Since the computer programming error caused an outcome that was not random, the outcome did not meet the requirements of the law, and would have been unfair to many DV entrants.” The State Department does not think that foul play was the reason for this error.

The State Department will repeat this year’s lottery (hopefully with the help of an algorithm that is more random) and will post the new results around July 15, 2011. No new entries will be accepted for this new lottery and all the previous entries will be eligible for the new drawing.

It’s hard to overstate the impact this error will have on the individuals who thought they were getting Green Cards and were likely already making preparations to immigrate into the U.S. Every year, millions of people enter into the Diversity Lottery and given that only 50,000 Green Cards are made available every year, the chance of winning is slim (there are also quotas that make it harder for prospective immigrants from some countries to win).



11:35 am


Where do Our Taxes Go? Google and Eyebeam Launch Data Viz Challenge to Explain

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The Internet is full of great data, but much of it is stuck in spreadsheet-like columns and simply hard to parse. Google and Eyebeam, a non-profit and technology center, want to raise the bar and just announced the launch of its Data Viz Challenge that will award a total of $10,000 to the best visualizations of the tax data provided by WhatWePayFor.com. According to Google, the goal of this contest is to “show everyone how data visualization can be a powerful tool for turning information into understanding.”

WhatWePayFor gives U.S. taxpayers an overview of where their tax money goes. While the site is packed with great information, it’s not exactly easy to read. Google and Eyebeam are looking for static and interactive visualizations that make this data easier to understand. The data is available through an API and the jury will award $5,000 to the winner on April 18, the day taxes are due in the United States.

With regards to visualizations, just a few days ago, Google also announced that its Public Data Explorer, which until now only worked with a pre-set array of data, now allows users to import their own data sets to visualize them. While not directly related to this contest, it’s clear that Google has a long-term interest in making it easier for individuals and organizations to create better data visualizations.



10:45 am


Spotify Launch in the U.S. Still Delayed by Record Labels' Financial Demands

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Spotify, the popular European music startup that gives you free access to millions of songs, may never launch in the U.S. after all, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph. Apparently, the record labels are asking for “very large minimum guarantees,” which is something that, according to this report, is making Spotify rather nervous as its European operation is just about to be profitable and entering the U.S. market could turn out to be a huge financial risk. According to the Telegraph’s source in the record industry, this “has caused Spotify to stop and think about whether it can afford the move to the US and indeed whether it is worth it.”

spotify_green_background-1.jpg

The record labels are apparently scared off by Spotify’s freemium model and don’t want potential record buyers to think that music should always be free. Indeed, the industry has worked hard over the last few years (in between suing those who downloaded illegal MP3s) to wean people off the idea that all music should be available for free.

Officially, of course, Spotify still argues that its working hard to launch in the U.S. and looking for additional funding to finance this venture, but if the Telegraph’s source is right, then there is considerable doubt whether this launch will ever happen or whether Spotify will just remain an European company and cede the U.S. market to the likes of Rdio (itself founded by Europeans), MOG and similar startups.

(via: The Next Web)



10:45 am