Redefining the coffee-table web site.

There are books we display on our shelves (or on our coffee tables) solely for the purpose of making an impression. These may be glossy, oversized photography books which may actually get gazed at now and again, or they may simply be the latest bestseller, seemingly non-chalantly arranged on the table to appear as though it belongs and is even being read. Quite a while ago I suggested that too many of our web sites fulfill no other purpose than to be casually observed (and for the observers to publicly note that they've seen it). But a recent study suggests that it's not only the web sites that receive quick glances and no real attention. Perhaps it's the internet itself.

A recent Nielsen/Netratings' study discovered that although the number of households connected to the internet continues to grow rapidly, almost 40% of those who have an internet connection never actually use it in any given month. (And another study reports similar findings.) If these statistics are correct, they suggest that after an initial plunge in order to test the water people discover that what they're looking for simply isn't there, and no longer see the point in logging on. But they also suggest that people have come to see the internet as an integral part of their lives. Sometimes we hardly turn on the television for lengthy periods of time, but we'd never consider not having one in the house, and perhaps it's becoming that way with the internet as well. Or perhaps it's a case of the price being right. An internet connection often comes packaged in the price of a new computer, and even if you don't want the connection, why argue when someone gives it to you for free.

Go to: Constantly Connected