Using a search engine or sending emails, rather than social networking, are still the most popular reasons why people turn to the internet, according to recent survey research from web market analysts, Pew Internet.
The survey, based on responses from 2,277 adults representing a range of social and age-range groups, revealed that 92% of those who use the internet have done so at some point in order to locate information via a search engine; whilst 59% of respondents said that they regularly use search engines when surfing the web.
Pew Internet found a similar percentage citing emailing as a reason for using the internet.
Interestingly, use of search engines was also extremely high among internet users aged 65 or over; with the total proportion ever having used a search engine standing at 87%; and the proportion classing themselves as regular daily users of search engines coming in at 37%.
Accessing social networking sites, however, still falls behind search engine use or emailing as a reason for internet surfing. According to the survey, only 65% of the internet users questioned claimed to have engaged in social networking online.
This is not to say of course that social networking has not enjoyed significant growth over the past decade. In 2004, for example, Pew Internet identified that only 11% of online surfers used such sites.
What is perhaps interesting, however, is that the rise in social network site use has not led to a corresponding fall in the use of email or search engines.