US residents gorging on data bytes: study

Dec 09, 2009
A man uses a laptop computer at a wireless cafe. If the data devoured in the United States last year were converted to text there would be enough books to bury the country under a pile seven feet (two meters) deep, according to a study released Wednesday.

If the data devoured in the United States last year were converted to text there would be enough books to bury the country under a pile seven feet (two meters) deep, according to a study released Wednesday.

US residents consumed about 1.3 trillion hours worth of from radios, televisions, computers, newspapers, mobile telephones, and other sources, according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego.

That translated into an average of nearly 12 hours spent daily by each US resident , listening to MP3 players, scouring the Internet or tapped into other sources of data.

The information tally was the equivalent of 3.6 zettabytes of data, or 34 gigabytes per person per day. Thirty-four gigabytes of digital data would fit on about seven standard DVD disks.

Radio and TV remained the dominant sources for data flooding people's lives, accounting for 60 percent of the total hours, according to the study by the university's Global Information Industry Center.

"Despite this, computers have had major effects on some aspects of information consumption," researchers Roger Bohn and James Short concluded.

"Thanks to computers, a full third of words and more than half of bytes are now received interactively."

Reading, which had been in a decline blamed on television, tripled from 1980 to 2008 because it is the overwhelmingly preferred way to receive words on the Internet, according to Bohn and Short.

Television, film and videogames laden with graphics were prime sources of data bytes. About 55 percent of information consumed was from computer games; 35 percent from television, and 10 percent from movies.

"We defined information as flows of data delivered to people and we measured the bytes, words, and hours of consumer information," Bohn and Short said.

"Video sources (moving pictures) dominate bytes of information."

The authors acknowledged that measuring in bytes gives more weight to data-rich content such as videogames that account for a small fraction of words consumed.

TV remained the single largest source of information, accounting for more than 45 percent of all words consumed in the United States.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gen Y logs on at the library

Jan 01, 2008

More Americans turn to the Internet for issues such as illnesses, finances, taxes and careers rather than look to other information sources, a survey found.

Children with TVs in their room sleep less

Sep 02, 2008

Middle school children who have a television or computer in their room sleep less during the school year, watch more TV, play more computer games and surf the net more than their peers who don't – reveals joint research ...

Recommended for you

Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

22 hours ago

People on Facebook and Twitter say they are less likely to share their opinions on hot-button issues, even when they are offline, according to a surprising new survey by the Pew Research Center.

US warns shops to watch for customer data hacking

Aug 23, 2014

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned businesses to watch for hackers targeting customer data with malicious computer code like that used against retail giant Target.

Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

Aug 22, 2014

The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Should you be worried about paid editors on Wikipedia?

Aug 22, 2014

Whether you trust it or ignore it, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and accessed by millions of people every day. So would you trust it any more (or even less) if you knew people ...

How much do we really know about privacy on Facebook?

Aug 22, 2014

The recent furore about the Facebook Messenger app has unearthed an interesting question: how far are we willing to allow our privacy to be pushed for our social connections? In the case of the Facebook ...

Philippines makes arrests in online extortion ring

Aug 22, 2014

Philippine police have arrested eight suspected members of an online syndicate accused of blackmailing more than 1,000 Hong Kong and Singapore residents after luring them into exposing themselves in front of webcam, an official ...

User comments : 0