Early Adopters Not All Thrilled About Technology

from the the-been-there-done-that-crowd dept

The traditional view of technology adoption was that you had your core group of early adopters who eagerly devoured any new technology, then the fast followers, trailed by the late bloomers. However, a new study from the folks at the Pew Internet and American Life Project suggest that as technology has permeated so far into our lives these days, it may be time to change that classification scheme. It found that approximately 31% of people are “high tech elite,” who we probably used to call early adopters before it became such a big group — but even that group is split into four distinct sub-groups, including approximately 25% of the high tech elite being in the “lackluster veteran” category. These are the folks who adopt and use technology, but aren’t thrilled about it. If anything, perhaps you could describe this as the cynical “been-there-done-that” crowd of technology adopters, who watch what’s going on, but aren’t blown away by the latest hyped up reincarnation of something from decades ago (this time with rounded corners).


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Comments on “Early Adopters Not All Thrilled About Technology”

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14 Comments
Wizard Prang (user link) says:

Re: Lackluster Veteran reporting for duty, SIR!!!

I’ve gone from being an early adopter (I had a PDA in 1991!) to lackluster veteran – I’m currently using a 2003-vintage Tungsten T3 and a phone (without – shock horror – a camera or an MP3 player). I refuse to combine the two into one; I feel that they work best as separate devices.

At home we have a 27″ CRT TV, No game console (no time for one!) and three CRT monitors (a 21″ and two 19″). I’m waiting for one to break so that I have a good reason to get an LCD 🙂

I tend to wait until bugs have been fixed. These days I want something. That. Just. Works.

lizard (user link) says:

BTDT -- still loving it

i’m an old, jaded geek from way back. and i adopt the new technology as fast as i can get my hands on it. beta testers? i’m there. bleeding edge tech that is only barely compatible with anything else in my work environment? sure, why not? “she’s an island unto herself”, my coworkers murmur and shake their heads. but it’s my role in the universe. if i didn’t go all geeky over the next latest thing, how would the rest of everyone ever get cool new stuff eventually when they get around to it? somebody’s gotta be out there playing with the shiny toys, and it has not even come close to losing its magic for me.

seriously i don’t think it ever will.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Means to an end

For me, technology is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Sure, I have bought a lot of it in my time (my office has 6 PCs), but only when I needed to.

For instance, I stuck with VHS videotapes until just over two years ago, when I leapfrogged DVD players and got a DVD video recorder with a hard drive. It doesn’t just play DVDs, I’ve also been using it to copy my old tapes onto something more durable.

And last year I got a widescreen TV. That’s been brilliant–I think the move from narrowscreen to widescreen has had about as much impact as going from black-and-white to colour. But I haven’t bothered with surround sound. And I went into a local Dick Smith Powerhouse recently and saw the Blu-Ray demo they had playing. And you know what? Even close-up on a nice, large screen, it’s really quite hard to see the difference between standard-definition and high-definition. Sure, my new TV will do HD. But I’m content to wait a while before even thinking about buying into that…

Yo Blare says:

well Osma, I think maybe you have a valid point (although your tone is somewhat unecesarily terrifying). However, it is interesting that some of the ‘outdated’ categorisation systems such as ‘early adopter’ and so on might actually give us a picture of individual’s and society’s behaviour when adapting to new technologies, and we could apply them next time some novel technology, like computers once were, comes along.

Jurges Boosh says:

Flock and flaw

I’ve often taken a ‘brute force’ approach to getting things done, whatever the cost. Hammer was the metaphorical ‘commander in chief’ of the re-engineering brigade. We tried that at one overseas subsiduary, and it turned out a bit of a shocker. So we learned that Charles Handy was right, that the idea that you can ‘manage change’ is wrong. So if we have a maturing use of info tech. in society, the people doing the experimenting may be qualitatively different to the ‘early adopters’ of yesterday, maybe more like formalised R&D.

Evostick says:

Depends on the tech

It depends upon the technology.

If it is standalone tech then early adopters win. (I bought an mp3 player as soon as they were 64mb, as I could easily rip my own content)

If the tech relies on other things being successful, then early adopters get burnt (I was going to give blueray/hd-dvd as an example, but I think Lazerdisc is better. I avoided Lazerdisc because I had to rely on the whole format being successful. I couldn’t use the tech on it’s own).

Immovable Object Guy says:

When versus destination

You need to keep in mind that what you’re viewing here is a capture of the data without the dimension of time. The data from the study as presented doesn’t give any distinction of why and when the users purchased the technology they are using. The fact that they fall into these categories is a reflection of the maturity of the technology they are using, and their problem solving capabilities.

Anonymous of Course says:

Technology is like a shovel

Technology is like a shovel.

I employ it as a labor saving
device. It’s better than a
teaspoon.

It’s hard to get excited about
shovel 2.0 or to be agog over
some next gen shovel with a cell
phone duct taped to the handle
so I can check my email.

I’d be more impressed if the handle
didn’t snap off when I attempted to
use the shovel function.

ian (profile) says:

Not much new going on...

There’s not much new or innovative out there. Mostly it’s “Wow, look what I can do with the internet when I can get xxxx number of people to yyyyy. So what? We used to call that “society” and that’s not very new either. The rate of adoption and abandonment of things has increased, but again, so what.

We won’t get anything new or interesting until we get functional artificial intelligence, humanlike or not. Until then, all the noise about the internet, web 2.0, etc. is just that. Noise.

Wow, I guess I’m a bit more of a lackluster techie than most.

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