For the third consecutive year we surveyed one-Ls during First Week library tours about their use of digital communication tools. More than 690 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 computer and which web browser they used most often; and whether they have used their computer to view e-books. And, as always, we asked for their favorite pizza topping. With three years of data, we are beginning to see some trends.
Although email remains the primary communication tool among the class of 2012/13, its dominance relative to text messaging continues to wane. The percentage of those favoring email fell this year to 55%, down from 62% in 2008 and 67% in 2007. At the same time, entering students’ preference for text messaging rose to 35%, up from 31% in 2008 and 24% in 2007. Facebook has now clearly displaced almost all other social networking sites, with 87% of survey respondents naming it as the site they use most often. Frequency of use has also increased, with 39% reporting logging on to the site more than once per day, compared to last year’s 28% figure.
While 36% of this year’s class subscribe to or read blogs (up from 32% in 2008), the number of students subscribing to or reading RSS feeds remained small, at just 11%, down from 2008’s 14% figure. Podcast use remained about the same as last year, with 29% reporting having downloaded or listened to 1-5 podcasts (compared to 32% for 2008) and 16% reporting having downloaded or listened to more than 5 (compared to 15% for 2008).
The popularity of Macs compared to PCs continued to rise, climbing to 39% from last year’s 31%. Firefox continued to increase in popularity as the browser of choice with a 40% share. Internet Explorer trailed at 30%, while Safari placed third at 21%.
A new question this year asked whether students had used their computer to view any e-books. Approximately 40% responded they had, while 56% responded they had not.
Finally, we observed the continuing supremacy of pepperoni as the pizza topping of choice, favored by nearly 26% of the incoming class. Mushrooms repeated as the number two choice at 16%.
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