Links to Pew’s “Where Do You Fit?” typology quiz abound. After the 5th or 6th time I read about, I decided to give in and see what it was all about. It probably isn’t a surprise that I fit into the Omnivore category. I like gadgets – not because they make me more productive or even because I find them useful, but because I like to play. I get sucked into things very easily. I love my iPod, enjoy text messaging my husband via cell phone (and sending him pictures), have more computers (and digital cameras for that matter) at home than residents (but fewer computers than tvs), obviously have a blog and spend far too much time online. However, I don’t think technology makes us more productive – it just is what it is. Neither do I think it is good – although I would find it difficult to live without it.
So what is an omnivore?
Omnivores make up 8% of the American public.
Members of this group use their extensive suite of technology tools to do an enormous range of things online, on the go, and with their cell phones. Omnivores are highly engaged with video online and digital content. Between blogging, maintaining their Web pages, remixing digital content, or posting their creations to their websites, they are creative participants in cyberspace.
You might see them watching video on an iPod. They might talk about their video games or their participation in virtual worlds the way their parents talked about their favorite TV episode a generation ago. Much of this chatter will take place via instant messages, texting on a cell phone, or on personal blogs. Omnivores are particularly active in dealing with video content. Most have video or digital cameras, and most have tried watching TV on a non-television device, such as a laptop or a cell phone.
Omnivores embrace all this connectivity, feeling confident in how they manage information and their many devices. This puts information technology at the center of how they express themselves, do their jobs, and connect to their friends.
Who They Are
They are young, ethnically diverse, and mostly male (70%). The median age is 28; just more than half of them are under age 30, versus one in five in the general population. Over half are white (64%) and 11% are black (compared to 12% in the general population). English-speaking Hispanics make up 18% of this group. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many (42% versus the 13% average) of Omnivores are students.
Some demographic differences & similarities: I’m not male. I’m not even close to 28 years of age. I am white. I am currently a student – which I do blame for a good portion of my current level of connectedness. I will admit that I probably do embrace my connectedness – and do feel confident about how I manage information over my various devices (and may sometimes wish I weren’t so technologically savvy since I spend a good deal of time helping others with their devices).
The report that accompanies the quiz breaks the American population down into three categories: Elite Tech Users (31%), Middle-of-the-road Tech Users (20%), and Few Tech Assets (49%). These three categories are then broken down further. There are Omnivores (8%), Connectors (7%), Lackluster Veterans (8%) and Enhanced Productivity (8%) within the Elite Tech Users group. Mobile Centrics (10%) and Connected, But Hassled (10%) make up the Middle-of-the-road Tech Users. At the bottom of this grouping, the Inexperienced Experimenters (8%), Light But Satisfied (15%), Indifferents (11%) and Off the Networks (15%) dwell within the Few Tech Assets category. If I got to choose, I’d love to be Connected, But Hassled because that is the coolest category – certainly better than Omnivore or Lackluster Veteran (and if your interested in reading some reaction to this odd label, check out Walt Crawford’s take on it and his issues with Pew’s biases).