According to new data in the "Home Broadband Adoption: 2006" report from Pew Research, 35% of US Internet users have created and posted content online. That implies a total of 48 million American adults.
And they must want do it in a hurry.
Pew found that broadband users are more likely to put content online than dial-up users: 42% of broadband users claim to be content creators versus 27% of dial-up users.
"[The Web is] shifting now to user-generated content; it shows people engaging with the Internet in a number of different ways in their lives," John Horrigan of the Pew Internet & American Life Project told ClickZ
. "It shows that people are pretty interested in using the technology to put something of themselves on the Internet, not just pull down information from the Internet."
In fact, far from being a passive pursuit, Pew researchers theorize that the Internet may actually foster creativity:
"In looking across the different kinds of user-generated content that we probed, there is an element of the Internet being the medium for creativity and the internet being an outlet for creativity people bring to the worldwide web. Blogging and, perhaps to a somewhat lesser extent, maintaining one’s own web page, are creative undertakings that take place mainly at the keyboard."
In 2002, when Pew first began asking users about user-generated content, 80% of it came from a group of broadband users they termed the "broadband elite." Demographically, the broadband elite fit the classic early adopter profile: heavily male, well educated and well off financially. The picture is much different today. A broad range of home broadband users is now generating content.
Men are still more likely to post content online than women, but only by a 37% to 32% margin for all Internet users, and an even narrower 43% to 39% gap for broadband users.
"Online content comes more often from younger people, but we do find that older people are sharing photos and videos," said Mr. Horrigan. "It’s disseminated fairly evenly throughout the broadband population at this point."