Working Paper Details

Emerging Contours of a New Internet World: Shifting Patterns of Adoption, Attitudes and Behavior
William H. Dutton ; Soumitra Dutta and Ginette Law
2011/123/TOM

The Internet has developed over decades but continues to be a space of rapid innovation, particularly in patterns of access and use. The cultures of the Internet might be more stable, since they are anchored in the values and attitudes of individuals for whom the Internet is but one, often minor, aspect of their everyday life and work. However, the last four decades of this ‘network of networks’ has seen dramatic changes in who has access to this and related information and communication technologies, and how people use and view these technologies. Globally, this paper provides a snapshot of the diffusion and use of the Internet that suggests the emergence of a ‘New Internet World’. We contrast the basic contours of the old and new Internet world that drove a set of research questions about cross-national differences in the values, attitudes, and behaviour of Internet users. Our global survey of users suggested four related themes that synthesize the empirical findings: 1) a shifting centre of gravity in those who use the Internet; 2) the rise of a global culture among Internet users; 3) the reinforcement of core Internet values by users in rapidly developing nations; and 4) the more innovative patterns of use within rapidly developing nations. Together, these trends provide a perspective on the development of a new Internet world that requires further research to validate the themes advanced by the present research.

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