Square Librarian, Round Pew

This quiz from the Pew Internet & American Life Project has been floating around, so after I saw it mentioned again in AL Direct today I figured I’d take a crack at it. Maybe it’s the liminal thing, but I’m stuck on the first couple of questions:

Some people say they feel overloaded with information these days, considering all the TV news shows, magazines, newspapers, and computer information services. Others say they like having so much information to choose from. How about you… do you feel overloaded, or do you like having so much information available?

Feel overloaded
Like having so much information available

How about “BOTH?” These aren’t mutually exclusive responses, folks. Heck, yeah, I like having so much information available. But of course I feel overloaded; there’s a lot of it and it’s hard to choose. How about “I feel overloaded, but it’s worth it to have so much information available?”

Overall, do you think that computers and technology give…
people MORE control over their lives, LESS control over their lives, or don’t you think it makes any difference?


No difference

How about, “it depends?” What kind of technology are we talking about, here? Sometimes I use technology to control that evil information overload from question 1. Sometimes I’m tethered to e-mail. Sometimes — well, I’m probably overthinking this. That aside, apparently I am “a connector.”

Basic Description
The Connectors’ collection of information technology is used for a mix of one-to-one and one-to-many communication. They very much like how ICTs keep them in touch with family and friends and they like how ICTs let them work in community groups to which they belong. They are participants in cyberspace – many blog or have their own web pages – but not at the rate of Omnivores. They are not as sure-footed in their dealings with ICTs as Omnivores. Connectors suspect their gadgets could do more for them, and some need help in getting new technology to function properly.

Defining Characteristics
Connectors combine a sense that information technology is good for social purposes with a clear recognition that online resources are a great way to learn new things. Their cell phones have a lot of features, and they also try new things with technology; more than half have watched TV programming on a device like a laptop computer or cell phone.

Who They Are
Connectors, which make up 7% of the population, have a median age of 38, with a majority (54%) in the 30-49 age range. Ethnically, it is mostly white (72%); 16% are Black and 12% are English-speaking Hispanics. The typical Connector has been online for 9 years, which suggests they were a second-wave of late 1990s adopters. Most are women (55%) and they rate above average in educational attainment and income.


  1. Rikhei:

    I had a hard time answering that first question too – your criticisms are spot-on.

  2. librarybob:

    Heh. So I guess some 7% of the population have the attitude needed to become reference librarians. That leaves 93% needing ‘em.

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