With smartphones, tablets and social media as popular as ever, people are quickly being defined for how technologically savvy they are.
New research from Broadcom Corp. revealed seven distinct connectivity personality types among American adults. Two key dimensions define the styles: connectivity, or the level of device and social media use, and behavior, or how Web-enabled devices and online platforms are used to connect to others.
The personality types are:
- Always on: This group, 8 percent of the U.S. adult population, is the most connected of all the personality types. They use technology mainly to create new content and to actively engage others. This group is more likely to be early adopters of new technology, as well as opinion elites. In addition, they are more likely than other segments to use technology to connect with people they want to know, versus people they already know.
- Live wires: This group, 35 percent of the U.S. adult population, is highly connected and tends to use technology to converse with others. It is the most likely group to use technology mainly to stay current with family and friends. Most in this group own smartphones, while many own tablets and Web-enabled TVs. In addition, they more likely to be employed full time and are in the Millennial age group.
- Social skimmers: This high connectivity group, 6 percent of the U.S. adult population, is marked by ownership of many devices, the use of many social networking sites, large online social networks and the frequent use of technology to connect with friends and family. Although highly connected, this group primarily uses new technology to receive information, rather than actively engage with others.
- Broadcasters: Lower in connectivity than the highly connected, this group — 8 percent of the U.S. adult population — uses technology selectively to create new content and tell others what they are doing, as opposed to commenting in a more conversational fashion. This group is the least likely to be on social media and primarily only make and receive calls on their cellphone.
- Toe-Dippers: This group, 27 percent of the U.S. adult population, is the largest of the three low connectivity groups and its members primarily use technology to converse with others. This group chiefly owns desktop and laptop computers, with less than a quarter using smartphones. They are the most likely segment to say that they prefer in-person contact when communicating with friends.
- Bystanders: Bystanders, 15 percent of the U.S. adult population, are the least connected. While more than two-thirds own desktop computers, they have the lowest ownership of laptops. In addition, just 12 percent owns a smartphone. They use technology to connect with family and friends less than three times each day, which is five times less than the national average. When they do use technology, they use it to receive information and are the most likely group to say they use technology primarily to keep up with news and current events.
- Never-Minders: This group, 2 percent of the adult population, represents a small segment of the U.S. population who are outliers; they do not use phone, text or social media to connect to others. This group is apprehensive about using technology and is more likely than the other groups to say that technology makes them feel more isolated. When they do connect, they are more likely to do so out of necessity.
The research found that overall, gender and age are the main drivers of connectivity. Those that are the highly connected are more likely to be female or a Millennial, while the less connected tend to be male or a Baby Boomer or senior over the age of 65.
The study was based on surveys of 2,500 U.S. adults.