One of the things I became very interested about whilst at the BBC was ‘e-literacy’ – basically how the various demographics of the UK have adopted and use technology, especially the Internet. (The BBC has a mandate to improve e-literacy (‘driving digital’, it’s called!), and must consider how it’s projects help promote the cause)
I think a lot us in Web2.0-world forget that only a tiny percentage of society are really getting what we’re doing. Ask some people outside your social and demographic circle whether they use Flickr and the chances are they’ve never even heard of it. Of course, what we’re doing is significant because it’s indicating future ‘mainstream usage behaviour’ (hmmm, sometimes anyway).
Anyway a number of British universities (UCL, Leicester and Nottingham) have conducted an ‘E-Society’ survey, rating every postcode in a metric between 1 and 23 (23 being most e-literate). For those who don’t know, a UK postcode is like a US Zipcode but shared by just 15 or so individuals addresses or a single apartment block.
From the Spatial Literacy E-Society website:
Our E-Society Classification is a detailed classification of all of Great Britain’s neighbourhoods, based on information about levels of awareness of information and communications technologies, usage patterns, and attitudes to their effects upon quality of life.
There is also an academic paper detailing the project.
Here are the 22 classifications:
But perhaps the coolest part is that you can search for your own UK post-code:
My postcode is H22 – E-Experts/E-committed (Confident in their abilities to undertake on-line transactions and to make full use of electronic technologies. These are the types of people who are able to make use of personalisation and configuration options.), although interestingly nearby neighbourhoods are listed as B09 – E-marginalised/Cable TV heartland (not necessarily averse to the use of electronic technologies but often lack the disposable income to equip themselves with it).