Minneapolis Community Tech Survey: Lots of technology but number of users and quality of use could be improved

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Minneapolis does an amazing job with their community technology use surveys. They just released the results of their second survey. Here are the Key Points from the 2014 Survey

  • Most Minneapolis residents held positive views of technology access in the city. Access to computers and the Internet was widely considered essential, and most households had Internet-capable computers and cell phones and used them regularly to go online; ownership of devices with Internet access continued to increase in 2014.
  • Over the last three years, residents have increasingly accessed the Internet using smart phones and tablets yet access varies across the 11 Minneapolis Communities and socio-economic factors. Residents who identified as lower-income, African-American, older and retired, unemployed or disabled were less likely to own a device with Internet access. Still, ownership of Internet-enabled mobile phones was high, even among those households least likely to own a computer.
  • Minneapolis residents frequently conducted a variety of activities online, with many using email, accessing news and weather, looking up a question and using social media on a daily basis. Residents rarely watched Minneapolis government television programming

The results look similar to Connect Minnesota’s statewide surveys. Overall, most people have access to computers. Most people have access to the Internet. BUT the folks who are least likely to have access are the folks who may be in greatest need of support to improve their quality of life. The Minneapolis survey found that lower-income, minority, older, unemployed and disabled residents were least likely to use technology.

The Minneapolis survey tracks what folks are doing (and not doing) online…

  • While comfort level with mobile devices has increased significantly, more residents of all ages need skills in online communication and collaboration —such as, publishing to the Internet, creating websites, maintaining blogs and even coding their own applications.
  • Too many residents do not feel very comfortable finding and applying for jobs online; only 65% of unemployed respondents looking for work have a computer with Internet at home.
  • Residents are not comfortable attaining education online and are not often accessing health information.
  • The Internet is not being used often by residents to find community resources, engage in civic activities or communicate with government.
  • Residents are frequently using email, social media and obtaining information online, however engagement activities are occurring less frequently, including communicating with government and economic development through direct selling of goods and services on the Internet.
  • Residents do not feel they know enough to deal with cyber security issues

It seems that residents are users of technology but that use might not be as purposeful as possible. It seems there’s an opening to help people use technology better to meet their everyday needs, enrich their lives and interact with the community more.