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Surfers Don’t Know Cool Web Lingo 2006-10-04

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Gizmo, Humanities, Statistics.
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Britons are increasingly tech-savvy but are still bamboozled by tech jargon.

According to research from ‘Nielsen/NetRatings’, people are buying cutting-edge technology but often don’t understand the terms that describe what their device actually does.

So while 40 per cent of on-line Britons receive ‘news feeds’, 67 per cent did not know that the official term for this service was ‘Really Simple Syndication’ (RSS).

Terms such as ‘podcasting’ and ‘wikis’ are still meaningless to many.

‘In the relentless quest for the next big thing when it comes to new forms of digital consumption, there is a significant tendency for the industry to over-estimate consumer’s knowledge and understanding of the seemingly limitless new terms and products out there,’ said Mr.Alex Burmaster, Internet analyst with ‘Nielsen/NetRatings’.


Knowledge snobbery

QUICK GUIDE TO TECH TERMS
VOD video-on-demand
Wikis Collaborative technology for editing websites
IPTV internet protocol television
RSS Really Simple Syndication alias automated news feeds
PVR personal video recorder
Web 2.0 user-generated content phase of internet
Triple-play internet, TV and phone in one subscription
VoIP voice over internet protocol
IM instant messaging
Blogging frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts on the web
Podcasting internet broadcasting for playback on MP3 players

Acronyms in particular foxed users. 75 per cent of on-line Britons did not know that ‘VOD’ stands for ‘video-on-demand’, while 68 per cent were unaware that personal video recorders were more commonly referred to as ‘PVRs’.

Millions of people keep in touch via ‘instant messaging’ but some 57 per cent of online Brits said they did not know that the acronym for it was ‘IM’.

‘The technology industry is perhaps the most guilty of all industries when it comes to love of acronyms,’ said Mr.Burmaster.

‘There is a certain level of knowledge snobbery in so far as if you talk in acronyms you sound like you really know what you are talking about and if others don’t understand then they are seen in some way as inferior,’ he said.

Terms such as ‘blogging’ and ‘podcasting’ have achieved a high enough level of exposure to have made it into dictionaries but there are still plenty of people who don’t understand the terms.

35 per cent of on-line Brits had heard the term ‘podcasting’ but didn’t know what it meant and a quarter had never heard of it. Similarly with ‘blogging’; 34 per cent said they had heard of it but weren’t sure what it meant.

Rejecting ‘iPods’

‘Some of the figures surprised us,’ said Mr.Burmaster.

‘It is important to remember that this is a survey of people who are already on-line so the numbers among the general population will be even higher.’

Regular surfers are, according to the survey, gadget-hungry. Interestingly, although 68 per cent of those interviewed possessed an ‘MP3 player’, only 20 per cent owned ‘iPods’ — the biggest selling digital music player.

MOST POPULAR DIGITAL DEVICES
PC 85%
WAP-enabled mobile phone 57%
Games console 53%
MP3 player (not iPod) 48%
Laptop 47%
3G-enabled mobile phone 30%
iPod 20%
High Definition TV 15%
PDA 13%

The ‘iPod’ may be less popular with ‘surfers’ because there are fewer on-line music stores from which music can be purchased, said Mr.Burmaster.

‘The whole ethos behind the Internet is about open access and for people already online, being able to access music from a variety of sources is important,’ he said.

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