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: Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

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

Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

2 hours ago

Social networking company Twitter on Wednesday rejected demands from the Turkish government to open an office there, following accusations of tax evasion and a two-week ban on the service.

How does false information spread online?

5 hours ago

Last summer the World Economic Forum (WEF) invited its 1,500 council members to identify top trends facing the world, including what should be done about them. The WEF consists of 80 councils covering a wide range of issues including social media. Members come ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Unlocking secrets of new solar material

(Phys.org) —A new solar material that has the same crystal structure as a mineral first found in the Ural Mountains in 1839 is shooting up the efficiency charts faster than almost anything researchers have ...

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, ...

New US-Spanish firm says targets rich mobile ad market

Spanish telecoms firm Telefonica and US investment giant Blackstone launched a mobile telephone advertising venture on Wednesday, challenging internet giants such as Google and Facebook in a multi-billion-dollar ...