In 2009, the Internet celebrated its 40th anniversary, and the World Wide Web, its 20th. Since their inceptions, the Internet and Web have both moved well beyond their origins. Computer scientists and engineers, but also growing numbers of users and providers of Internet products and services, have reinvented the Internet and Web in fundamental ways. The 2009 Oxford Internet Survey (OxIS) showed how this evolving Internet is reconfi guring access to information, people and services in ways that are reshaping economic and social development. The social implications of the Internet, identified in this report, support current initiatives to bring those excluded into the UK government’s vision of a ‘Digital Britain’, by reducing barriers to inclusion. However, the survey also underscores the difficulties in bringing a significant sector of non-users to the Internet, and in formulating approaches to regulation and control that will not undermine the very openness, privacy and freedom of expression that makes it such an innovative and valuable information and communication resource. The Internet can support a wide variety of purposes, which lead individuals to use the Internet in markedly different ways. Communication remains the single most common use, with almost all users saying they send or receive email or messages, however there have been major trends in the uptake of a number of other uses even since 2005, including:
• Continued growth in reliance on search engines to look for information • An increased in the Internet as a first or major source of information about a widening variety of matters, from local events to health and medical information. • A remarkable rise in social networking with nearly half (49%) of all Internet users having up-dated or created a social networking profile in the last year. • Steadily increasing proportions of users employing the Internet to obtain services, from online shopping and banking to government services. • A marked increase in the creation and production of content by users, linked to the increasing facility of new, Web 2.0 platforms to support user-generated content. With so much going on and so many benefits and opportunities to using computers and the internet if you haven’t got to grips with some of the basics then you may be missing out on a range of exciting and fun possibilities. Just a little knowledge can take you a long way towards being comfortable around the technology, and it’s here we can help. For a friendly way to learn without any pressure just call Paul or Sue at Destinations, 01287 626432.