Pew's Online Typologies, Part One: Mobile Users

By March 31, 2009

Pew Internet & American Life Project has published an interesting piece of sociology, "The Mobile Difference," which sets out a typology of mobile and stationary-media internet users. The report places the American adult population into in two broad categories: the 39 percent who are “Motivated by Mobility,” and the 61 percent for whom “Stationary media (or none at all) will do.” In the mobile category, Pew describes five types, judged on their “Assets, Actions and Attitudes.” Digital Collaborators are the most advanced of any users. Eight percent of the population, they have the most tech assets, and they create and share online content. They’re mostly well-educated and well-off males in their late


Ambivalent Networkers use mobile devices for social networking and entertainment, but have some concerns about mobile devices intruding too much into their lives. Seven percent of the adult population, the Ambivalent Networker is generally a male in his late 20s.

Media Movers share or create some online content like photos, but for them the social aspect of mobility is more important. This group is seven percent of the population and is generally middle-income males in their mid-30s, many of whom have kids.

Roving Nodes represent nine percent of the adult population. While using their phones for their social lives and work, they rely most on basic applications such as texting and email. This group is mainly well-educated and well-off females in their late 30s.

Mobile Newbies enjoy their cell phones, which was most likely acquired in the last year. Eight percent of the population, they are mainly females around the age of 50, from lower educational and income levels.

Overall, Pew grants higher-tech status to mobile users than their PC brethren, as “mobile connectivity is the new centerpiece of high-tech life.”

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