The Internet is not Introverted
A new study of Swedish people’s Internet usage shows that extroverts are more active than introverts online. The study will be included in “Fragment”, the SOM Institute’s new report released today.
The Internet has been a natural part of our everyday lives for several years now. It’s always there to help us when we want to communicate over distance, shop, search for information or just play games and socialize. A new study for the national SOM Institute, based on a representative sample of the Swedish population, shows that it is primarily extroverted people who use the Internet rather than introverted people. Recent technological advances have enabled constant Internet access, leading to major changes in our Internet usage. The new study encompassed 1694 Swedes and was conducted between September 2014 and February 2015. Its aim was to look closer at how psychological personality, frequency of Internet use and type of online activites are connected. John Magnus Roos, PhD in Psychology, researcher at the Center for Consumer Science at Gothenburg University and design psychologist at Veryday, is the author of the study.
“The study shows that, contrary to what most people think, it’s not introverted people who use the Internet the most. We have actually been able to conclude that the more open and extroverted you are as a person, the more you use different digital services,” says John Magnus Roos.
Researches have previously disagreed in this area, as earlier research has claimed that introverts prefer the Internet because it allows them to be more anonymous and avoid physical contact. However, there has been a change in behavior recently and extroverted people have now become the most frequent users of the Internet, probably because it has become home to more and more social activities. The study shows that extroverted people mainly use e-mail services, social media, read blogs and purchase goods and services.
”We can see that the pendulum has now swung to the other side. Perhaps we need to take a step back and think about why certain groups use the Internet less, so that we don’t miss any quiet potential users in our technological advances.”
The study shows that there is no evidence to suggest that frequent use of the Internet leads to loneliness – but evidence does suggest that frequent use may make people more anxious and nervous. For example, the findings show that people who engage in blog reading and social media on a daily basis have a tendency to find more faults in others and tend to be more nervous than others. The innovation and design agency Veryday has over a long period of time worked with development and innovation that includes all types of users in the design process. With the help of research into Internet usage in relation to personality type they hope to create services that are inclusive to all types of needs in the future.
”Given that the Internet today is used largely by people with more open and creative characteristics and who quickly perceive, understand and take advantage of new usage areas, the challenge is to get more reserved people to become interested and want to integrate with the services that are offered online,” says Thomas Nilsson, Director of Design Research at Veryday.
Facts about the SOM Institute
SOM Institute is a center focusing on research and seminar activities run by the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMK) and the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg. The SOM Institute has conducted surveys to collect research data and presented annual trend analyses on public opinion and media habits in Sweden since 1986. The Institute’s analyses are often referred to in the public debate in Sweden and are used to form many important decisions influencing Swedish society. www.som.gu.se
Facts about Veryday
Veryday is one of the top-ranking design consultancies in the world. The company has an impressive track record for design that has helped build remarkably successful businesses for its clients, including LG, Microsoft, GE Healthcare, 3M, Spotify, BabyBjörn and IKEA. Veryday was founded in 1969 and has a strong commitment to people-driven innovation as a means to enhance quality of life. In 2014, Veryday’s 45-year success story was honored with the highest distinction in the design world the ‘Red Dot: Design Team of the Year’. Based on deep people insights, Veryday’s design specialists create innovative solutions through products and services in the physical and digital worlds. The company has offices in Stockholm, New York, Dubai, Shanghai, and is represented in London. Find out more at www.veryday.com