The Internet is ingrained in modern society. In addition to providing information and entertainment, it serves as the backbone of social interaction for millions. But how much do people actually know about the Internet and related technologies?
The latest study from the Pew Center for Internet and American Life put Americans’ tech knowledge to the test.
A survey of 1,066 Internet users found that 83 percent of respondents were able to correctly identify Bill Gates in an image; only 21 percent recognized Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
A large majority – 82 percent, to be exact – knew that hashtags are widely used on Twitter while 77 percent were aware that PDF files can be sent by any e-mail program. Nearly three quarters of those polled knew that a kilobyte is smaller than a megabyte, 69 percent gave the correct answer for what “URL” stands for and 61 percent were familiar with the meaning of net neutrality.
Conversely, only nine percent pegged Mosaic as the first popular graphical web browser. What's more, 23 percent knew that the Internet and the World Wide Web weren’t the same. 34 percent of people knew that Moore’s Law deals with the number of transistors on a computer chip and more than a third of respondents knew the first iPhone was released in 2007.
As Pew researcher Aaron Smith points out, younger Internet users are generally more knowledgeable than their elders when it comes to Internet technology. Such was especially true when dealing with questions related to social media. Unsurprisingly, Pew also found that those with higher levels of education turned in higher scores.