For the fourth consecutive year we surveyed one-Ls during First
Week library tours about their use of digital communication tools.
Nearly 640 students responded to questions about what form of electronic
communication they used most often; what social networking site they used
and how often; whether they subscribed to or read blogs or RSS feeds; how
often they listened to podcasts; what type of computer and which web
browser they used most often; and whether they have used e-books.
This year’s survey also asked which electronic devices students
owned (including Blackberries, iPhones, other smart phones, iPads, and
e-book readers), which search engine they used most often, and how often
they used a different search engine to repeat a search seeking different
or additional results.And,
as always, we asked for their favorite pizza topping. The four years
of data are beginning to reflect certain trends.
E-mail use continues to plummet
vis-à-vis text messaging as the preferred means of written
electronic communication among members of the class of 2013/14. The percentage of those
favoring e-mail fell this year to 45%, down from 55% in 2009, 62% in 2008,
and 67% in 2007. At the same time, entering students’
preference for text messaging rose to 43%, up from 35% in 2009, 31% in
2008 and 24% in 2007.
Facebook is continuing to grow in
dominance and importance. Not only did 89% of survey respondents name it
as the social networking site they use most often, but more and more of
those using it are using it more and more often; frequency of use
increased again this year, with 46% reporting logging on to the site more
than once per day, compared to 2009 (39%) and 2008
While 41% of this year’s class subscribe to or
read blogs (up from 36% in 2009 and 32% in 2008), the number of students
subscribing to or reading RSS feeds remained small, at just 11%, on par
with 2008’s figure but down from nearly 14% in
Podcast use presented a mixed bag:while 25% of respondents
downloaded or listened to 1-5 podcasts during the year (continuing a
downward trend compared to 29% in 2009 and 32% in 2008), those who
downloaded or listened to more
than 5 podcasts increased to 18%, slightly more than the 16% figure from
both 2008 and 2009.
The popularity of Macs compared to PCs
continued a steady climb, rising to 48% from 38% in 2009 and 31% in
Internet Explorer continued to lose
popularity while both Safari and Google Chrome made big gains as browsers
of choice.The latter two
(31% and 12%), along with Firefox (36%), are now the choice of nearly 80%
of respondent users.
A new question this year asked which
search engine respondents use most often.Not surprisingly, 93% identified Google.Interestingly, 44% of those
surveyed “sometimes” use a different search engine to perform
an identical search after receiving results from an initial search,
perhaps recognizing that individual search engines can have limitations
and failings.An additional
8% “usually” use another search engine to supplement their
results and nearly 5% “always” do so.
question asked students which among certain specified electronic devices
“smart phones,” Blackberry holds a 40% share compared to the
iPhone at 22% and “other” smart phones at 17%.Less than 5% of respondents own an
iPad and less than 4% own an e-book reader.A surprising 12% owned none of the five devices.
Use of e-books (via
a computer or any other electronic device) showed an unexpected drop-off
–- 42% compared to last year’s 56%.
Finally, after years of dominance as students’
favorite pizza topping, pepperoni (21.63%) lost its crown to cheese
(23.20%). Mushrooms repeated as a contender with
For more information and the complete survey
results, click here.