My Name is URL

by Tom Davis

Pew Research says we know less about the Internet than we think


But in many ways it is "worse" and "better" than their research findings. The report is located here.  They encourage you to take the test yourself. I did — it was just 17 questions — and I can say it is like many surveys where there are some obvious and some trick questions. A couple of questions required a deep historical knowledge and other required very current applied knowledge.

The "better than reported"  part is that you are not going to get hacked just because you did not know some of these answers. After all, the Internet is more of an "automatic" consumer medium these days — not the dial-up-log-on contraption of the past. If had a similar television or movie IQ test most people would do quite badly. Yet, they still enjoy television and movies. You don't need to know how it rains to enjoy the benefits.

The "worse than reported" part is that if you are in charge of a website for your business or organization you are probably doing it wrong. The Pew survey and report did not get into this side of the Internet, but I contend that most site owners are lost at sea. They think they know enough to keep their heads above water, but they are usually swimming in circles. This is the saddest part of this scenario, people do not know enough to realize they don't get it.

This is not any different than any other discipline, it is just that the Web is so accessible. And it costs so little to do it badly while feeling like you do it well.

Consuming and creating are two entirely different things. It is why we specialize.

The best advice I can give website owners is to seek the advice and guidance of those that work everday on the things your site needs to be great.

By the way, I missed one question on the test. Pew said that was better than 98.7% of the public that took the test. Fear my nerdiness!