THE INTERNET AND INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE:
A STUDY OF QUANTITATIVE DATA FROM
THE ELON/PEW SURVEY
Bridget E. Holmstrom
(Professor Janna Q. Anderson) School of Communications

What does the future hold for individuals in a world that is more and more networked every day? What positive and negative social, economic, and political impacts do leaders in business, research, technology, and policy-making from all aspects of the international community expect to see by the year 2014? This qualitative analysis examines predictions about the future of the internet that were recorded through a web-based questioning of nearly 1,300 internet stakeholders in the 2004 Experts Survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and Elon University. Internet “stars” who completed the survey include Vint Cerf, Esther Dyson, Bob Metcalfe, Dan Gillmor, Howard Rheingold, Simson Garfinkel, and David Weinberger. Survey questions were included in a web-based instrument that was sent to specific Internet stakeholders who were also asked to share the survey with friends. Respondents were asked to react to eighteen thought-provoking questions or statements. This particular study of the Pew/Elon data delves into a deeper analysis of responses to one question: Rank the impact of the internet over the next decade on the following institutions: news organizations/publishing; education; the workplace; medicine/health care; politics/government; music/film/the arts; international relations; the military; families; neighborhoods/communities; religion. This study finds uniform agreement among respondents that change is happening in all these areas to varying degrees, with the media and education leading the way. It brings together qualitative data in support of the quantitative data, outlining patterns among the predictions of the people surveyed.

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