December 28, 2009
Pew Survey Results: Good Riddance to the 2000s but Technology and Communications Advances Viewed Favorably
Results from The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey of the 2000s reveal that more people have a generally negative (50%) rather than a generally positive (27%) impression of the past 10 years. Current Decade Rates as Worst in 50 Years. "There is no significant generational divide in impressions of the current decade: Roughly half in all age groups view the 2000s negatively, while less than a third rates the decade positively. This is in stark contrast to generational differences in views of previous decades. ... Happy to put the 2000s behind them, most Americans are optimistic that the 2010s will be better. Nearly six-in-ten (59%) say they think the next decade will be better than the last for the country as a whole, though roughly a third (32%) think things will be worse."
On the plus side, Pew reports that major technological and communications advances are viewed in an overwhelmingly positive light. See graphic, left. Snips from the Report:
The Internet ... continues to be widely seen in a favorable light. About two-thirds (65%) say the internet has been a change for the better, while just 16% say it has been a change for the worse; 11% say it hasn’t made much difference while 8% are unsure.
Email ... is viewed as favorably as the internet itself. By an overwhelming margin, more say email has been a change for the better (65%) than say it has been a change for the worse (7%); 19% say it hasn’t made a difference.
Cell phones are broadly embraced by the public as a change for the better. Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) call cell phones a change for the better compared with just 14% who call them a change for the worse.
Smartphones ... handheld devices such as Blackberries and iPhones are seen as a good thing by most people (56%). However, a quarter (25%) says these devices have been a change for the worse.
Social Networking. The public is ambivalent when it comes to evaluating social networking sites such as Facebook. About a third (35%) call them a change for the better, 21% say they have been a change for the worse, while 31% say social networking sites have not made much of a difference and 12% are unsure.
Blogs. When it comes to internet blogs, the plurality opinion (36%) is that the emergence of blogs has not made much of a difference. Slightly fewer (29%) call them a change for the better, while 21% think they have been a change for the worse.
Also note the survey findings for green products, surveillance/security and genetic testing. [JH]