Most Consumers Are Having Trouble Keeping Up With New Tech Buzzwords (2006)

Worried Office Worker

According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Windows Live, most consumers don’t know new Internet tech buzzwords. 71% of respondents have never heard of RSS, 46% indicated they aren’t clear on the definition of Internet tagging and 32% indicated they are not sure how best to describe VoIP — three common services that are quickly gaining acceptance and popularity with Americans who use the Internet.

“Many people seem to shy away from using new technologies,” said Windows Live Director Phil Holden at Microsoft.

“But just because these things sound complicated doesn’t mean that they are. These technologies are built into many services people already use on a daily basis, such as instant messaging and e-mail.

“Once people master the terminology, they will understand that what is behind these buzzwords can and in many cases already is helping them simplify their lives,” Holden said.

Most Consumers Don’t Know Tech Buzzwords

The Harris Interactive survey revealed the following facts:

  • Only 43% of U.S. adults somewhat or strongly agree that they are knowledgeable about the latest tech buzzwords.
  • 77% percent of women say they are not knowledgeable about the latest tech buzzwords, compared with 45% of men.
  • Although 79% of U.S. adults are aware of blogs, approximately only 17% typically read them.
  • One in three U.S. adults are not sure how best to describe Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP).
  • 71% of U.S. adults indicated they have never heard of RSS. 52% of men have heard of it, compared with only 18% of women.
  • Nearly one-half (46%) of U.S. adults are not sure what the term “Internet tagging” refers to.

“The Internet and technology are moving at lightning speed,” said Holden. “It can be difficult for people to keep up with all the latest innovations without being put off by the confusing names and jargon. Once they scratch beneath the surface and pass the intimidating lingo, people can discover new and wonderful ways to harness the Internet and perhaps even become passionate about discovering the next big technology breakthrough.”

New Tech Buzzwords Defined

In case you need a cheatsheet, here are some of the most common tech buzzwords that are currently stumping consumers.

  • VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol allows people to have PC-to-PC voice conversations, or enables a person to use a PC to talk with someone who has access to a regular phone. VoIP is a fun, easy and inexpensive way to communicate, which has made the service explosively popular. In fact, according to an article that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in 2005 the number of U.S. subscribers more than tripled, to 4.5 million users.
  • RSS: Really Simple Syndication allows Internet users to subscribe to the information that appeals to them online, such as updates to a blog or newspaper Web site they like. Once they subscribe to a Web site’s RSS feed, they can receive real-time updates. It is like having a personalized newspaper that is updated 24 hours a day.
  • Tagging: Internet tagging helps people categorize information on the Internet. With so much to find online these days, this is a useful tool for discovering relevant information. Tagging is similar to the bookmarks people make on their personal Web browsers, except that tagged Web pages are stored on the Internet and can be accessed from any computer at any time.
    Beta. Beta is the term used to describe products that are still in a test, or preview, version before they are officially released.
  • Blogs: Weblogs, or “blogs,” are personal Web sites where people can write entries and post photos on a specific topic of their choosing — from news to sports to music. Blogs can also be used as online diaries or scrapbooks and are great ways to share news and photos with family and friends around the world.

Related Articles: