Nielsen data released May 19 give a sense of how and where owners are using tablets, smartphones and eReaders. Tablet and smartphone use often accompanies television viewing — 70% of tablet owners use them while also watching television; 68% of smartphone owners use them while watching tube. Of eReader owners, only 35% use them while watching television. These findings aren't too surprising considering tablets and smartphones have browser and app capabilities that potentially could supplement television viewing; less likely with an ereader.
Of the three "connected devices" measured (tablets, eReaders, and smartphones), the device most likely to be used by their owners while...
Lying in bed? eReader (61% of owners)
With friends or family? Smartphone (58%)
Waiting for something? Smartphone (59%)
In the bathroom? Smartphone (28%)
Attending a meeting/class? Tablet (24%)
Shopping/running errands? Smartphone (59%)
Commuting? Smartphone (47%)
Pew's latest report on online health information shows that while general "Web 1.0" sorts of information seeking activities are quite common, "Web 2.0" social interaction related to health is still rare. Motivated sub-groups, such as those with chronic diseases and caregivers, are more engaged in seeking and sharing health information and experiences online than the average internet user. Read the full report "The Social Life of Health Information 2011" at pewinternet.org
Despite the uptake of the internet generally, broadband access, and more recently social networking web sites, health information seeking still appears to be largely an offline activity. When survey respondents were asked about the place they sought information, care, or support the last time they had a health issue, 70% said a health professional (but only 1% online, 4% online and offline), 54% said friends and family (only 1% online, 12% online and offline), and 20% said they turned to others with the same condition (only 1% online, 4% online and offline).
Further, these online activities do not necessarily appear to be social online activities. The most common is "Web 1.0"-style information seeking — "looking online for information" (80% of internet users), "reading someone else's experience about health or medical issues" (34% of internet users), and "receiving email updates and alerts" (14%). Online social-layer interactions with others are relatively uncommon: only 6% of internet users have posted comments, questions or information on a health or news site that enables such interaction; 5% have posted to a online discussion or listserv; and 4% have posted to a blog that allows comments.
Looking specifically at social networking web sites, they are still not a major source of health information. This is explained in part by the fact that, while popular, social networking is still not as common as general internet use (only 3 in 5 internet users, 62%, even use online social networks in the first place). Among online adults, 15% have used social networks for health information. Pew concludes that "social network sites are popular, but used only sparingly for health updates and queries."
The Pew report shows that certain motivated sub-groups, namely those living with chronic conditions (i.e. high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease, cancer, etc.) and those providing care for a loved on, are significantly more likely to use the internet generally, and social networking sites specifically, for health information and to interact with others in similar situations.
There is a lot more detail in the report on important trends in online health information, including data on mobile health, so check it out.
Update: You can join a comment thread about this report over at e-patients.net
An On the Media segment on data journalism features Matt Stiles from the Texas Tribune, a leader in the field. Stiles says the Tribune has been pretty successful in getting the raw material for their interactive features, but laments that a lot of important data are still locked away in PDF files. On the Media also talks with professor Sarah Cohen from Duke University who says that government transparency efforts, including its tools like Data.gov, have fallen a bit short because they've only made available what "government wanted you to have," leaving a lot of stories yet "undone." "I think there is a flood of data, but I'm not entirely sure that there's a flood of records and information behind it," Cohen says. Listen to the full segment:
Interactive features matter: Two-thirds of Texas Tribune's site traffic is to their data-driven interactive features, not their traditional text articles. Reference: Poynter Institute
The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism is out with a major new study on the business of digital journalism: "The Story So Far." Zeroing in on the report's #1 recommendation (emphasis added):
Digital platforms have been treated too often by traditional news organizations as just another opportunity to publish existing content. Many sites are filled with "shovelware" — content that amounts to little more than electronic editions of words and pictures from traditional platforms. But, as we have seen, publishers can build economic success by creating high-value, less-commoditized content designed for digital media.
In other words, value comes from building your information products native to the medium in which they exist. This critical move is from digital distribution to native digital information. And it applies to all information providers on the digital playing field, not just commercial journalists.
In a post that coincided with the Columbia report, Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, would seem to agree. She notes that the need for new digital storytelling and production skills is not exclusive to commercial journalism (emphasis added):
"...in the digital realm, a clear understanding of both what stories and journalism cost to produce and how they can be most engaging and effective are crucial. These are skills which will be as important in the non-profit and public service realm as they are in the commercial world."
While the Columbia report highlights digital journalism's struggle with this, CDI has found that nonprofit information providers are even farther behind in updating their digital offerings. Their "shovelware" comes in the form of "click here to download the full report PDF" — 98% of the time.
Two competing stats on digital tablet penetration: Nielsen measures at less than 5% in a study released May 18. However, the Pew Research Center's State of the News Media report released in March, using data gathered in January 2011, puts that figure at 7%.
paidContent:UK, citing Nic Newman of app developer TigerSpike, reports that engagement time with tablet editions is 30-34 minutes, which is five times as much as with web content.
From the same post, something that speaks to the importance of interactivity rather than just reading, users of The Daily Telegraph iPad edition spend a "significant proportion" of their time with the app's crossword puzzle, while not providing specific statistics.
A collection of pieces on data, information and storytelling in the social sector:
CDI's "Data Are Not Information" post was updated and republished by the Nonprofit Technology Network on May 10.
Kurt Voelker of ForumOne Communications authored another piece in the NTEN series: "Data and Storytelling: 6 Ways to Use Data to Move Your Mission"
Bruce Trachtenberg of the Communications Network provides a wrap-up of the Center for Effective Philanthropy conference: "Connecting the Dots with Data"
Philanthropy guru Lucy Bernolz touches on the impact of digital information on the social sector in her piece "New Rules for a New Age." One of her bullets: "Digital information and the open government movement present new opportunities for thinking about how nonprofits/foundations do and should share their information."