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November 14, 2012

Ofcom reveals how people in the UK use communication technologies

The analysis reveals that communications habits are categorised into five different types of groups.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Categories range from the ‘Always On’ adult who prefers chatting online to ‘Conventional’ adults, who prefer meeting face-to-face rather than using new technologies.

The Ofcom study looked at the methods and frequency of communication among UK adults and their attitudes towards it.

Findings revealed that there is a marked difference in the way people view technology as a way to communicate.

One of the largest of the groups is the ‘Always on’ group which represents 22% of UK adults. This group is the youngest group across the UK population with 50% under the age of 35.

‘Always On’ communicators are twice as likely to use Twitter (28%) than the national average (16%). These types of communicators predominantly use technology to keep in touch with 90% using mobile phones to communicate and 88% freely sharing information online.

‘Middle of the road’ communicators are also one of the largest groups in the UK. They tend to use various methods to keep in touch, but face-to-face communication (78%) is their preferred method.

Ofcom research

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These communicators are wary about sharing personal information or opinion on social media sites and will wait to try new communication services after others have started using them first.

‘Enlightened’ communicators are a younger group where 44% are under the age of 35. They like to keep up to date with the latest technology but are more careful about sharing personal information online than the ‘Always On’ communicator.

The majority of ‘enlightened’ adults use text and email to keep in touch with family and friends.

The ‘Conventional’ communicator represents around 21% of UK adults. Adults in this category are least likely to use new technologies to communicate. Over 80% of ‘conventional’ communicators are more likely to use a landline phone over a computer or mobile phone. Their top method of keeping in touch is meeting face-to-face and they are most likely to use the post than other types of communicators.

The smallest group of communicators belong to the ‘Detached’ group. These adults make up 16% of the population and the majority of adults in this category are men of various ages.

They were found to be more likely to use newer and quicker forms of communication like texting or Twitter and less likely to meet someone face to face.

The study suggests that while younger adults continue to drive the way communication technologies are used, older adults prefer to stay way from newer technologies

"From the ‘always on’ to the ‘detached’, technology is changing the way we all communicate, giving people greater opportunities to stay in touch," James Thickett, Director of Research told CBR. "It’s the younger groups in particular that are driving the changes, with older groups often preferring more traditional methods of communication."

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