Tag Archives: internet

Smartphones are only gateway to the internet for some Americans

Read this article at USA Today about how the only internet access for 7 percent of Americans is through their smartphones.  These smartphone dependent users tend to be young, poorer than most Americans, less educated and are minorities.

SAN FRANCISCO — For 7% of Americans, a smartphone is their only readily available option for accessing the Internet, a survey by the Pew Research Center finds.

“Their phone is really their primary access point for all of the things we take for granted in the online space,” said Aaron Smith, a Pew researcher who helped write the report.

Online access has become increasingly necessary merely to function in the world. About 89% of adult Americans use the Internet, previous Pew research has found.

Many Americans use a mix of ways to get online, which can include a computer, tablet or phone at home, at work or through a friend or at a library.

But 7% are what Pew terms “smartphone reliant” — their phone is their only way to get online.

These smartphone-dependent users are younger, poorer, less-educated and more likely to be a member of a minority than the rest of the nation.

Check out the article here.

African American broadband use increases

The number of African Americans using broadband at home has increased by 22 percent from last year.  Overall the use of broadband increased by only a few percentage points from last year but it’s black folks who are seeing the largest increase. That’s good news.

African American Adoption of Broadband Surges

By: Mark Hachman

Although the percentage of Americans using broadband at home increased just slightly from last year, the number of African-Americans reporting access to broadband at home surged by 22 percent, a report said Wednesday.

According to a report compiled by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 66 percent of Americans said they had broadband access at home in 2010, versus 63 percent in 2009. Ethnically, 67 percent of whites reported home broadband; English-speaking Hispanics reported 66 percent; and blacks reported 56 percent.

A year ago, however, 46 percent of African-Americans polled by the organization reported broadband at home, a gain of 10 percentage points, or 22 percent in absolute numbers.

Pew polled 2,252 adults by phone between the end of April and May, including 744 reached via a cell phone. Users were asked to state whether they connected to the Internet via a dial-up landline, or with some form of broadband, including a cable modem, DSL, or wireless, according to Aaron Smith, research specialist with Pew.

When asked why African-Americans reported such a large jump, Smith said that Pew’s research didn’t examine the reason. “But we’ve been picking up on it for a couple of years now; not necessarily with broadband, but with higher levels of engagement with the Internet in general,” he said.

You can read the entire article here at PC Magazine.com.

The Washington Post and the metro melee coverage

I read an interesting column in the Sunday Washington Post this morning by the Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander.

Brawl on the Metro: Where was the coverage?

By Andrew Alexander
Sunday, August 15, 2010; A11

Post managers, from the top down, regularly remind the newsroom that coverage must have a “for and about Washington” focus. So when a large brawl broke out in the Metro system on a recent Friday night, it seemed a perfect chance to show local readers that The Post is their indispensable source for news.

His column discussed the complaints received from readers about the lack of coverage the Post had relating to the teen brawl that took place on the metro last Friday, August 6. He’s right, the coverage was very sparse.

On deadline, The Post gathered enough information for a news brief in Saturday’s paper, and a short story was quickly posted online.

I didn’t see anything about the melee in my Saturday paper. What I saw online Saturday was mostly in blog format, not a news article.

Throughout Saturday, it was among the most-viewed stories on the Web site, signaling intense reader interest. But as the day wore on, some readers grew frustrated that there was nothing more.

They did publish a story in last Sunday’s metro section but it wasn’t a lengthy article.

When a story for Sunday’s paper finally did appear, it offered little new. Promoted on the front page and tucked at the bottom of Sunday’s Metro section, it didn’t answer key questions: What caused the fighting? Were the people who were injured participants or bystanders? Was Metro beefing up security?

Why such thin coverage? Much of the explanation is that The Post responded with too little, too late.

So with a local news staff of about 70 reporters, why not call in reinforcements? Robert E. Pierre, the weekend editor for local news, said he saw no need. “It wasn’t about additional people,” he told me, noting that social media searches and an online appeal for witnesses had yielded little. And, he added, “the police didn’t have very much,” and what little information they disclosed was sketchy. The size of the crowd was in question, he said, and police couldn’t say how many were actually brawling.

The Post finally published a front page story on Monday, August 9 which included a family who witnessed the melee and a young man injured when riders fled the train. I was glad to see this on the front page because it is a major news story considering that thousands of folks take the metro everyday. But you know what? According to Mr. Alexander, Robert Pierre, the weekend editor for local news felt that last Monday’s front page story was given too much prominence.

When The Post finally produced a more substantive story for Monday’s paper, Pierre believes it was given too much prominence, even though it included eyewitness descriptions of multiple fights and bedlam as people tried to escape the pandemonium. The Post “overplayed it,” said Pierre. “It was a fight on the Metro. Kids get into fights.”

Say what? Dozens of teens are involved in a huge fight on the subway on a Friday night while dozens of metro riders look on and the weekend editor considered the front page story overkill? And you know why he felt that way. Cause kids get into fights. Would Mr. Pierre have said the same thing if those kids had gotten into fights with random adult metro passengers? Robert Pierre was also concerned about the racial aspect of the story. Give me a damn break.

Is Robert Pierre afraid of the reaction from black readers? Black folks take the metro too and many of us are sick and tired of the behavior of kids like those involved in the melee. We don’t all condone bad behavior. Is he afraid of some “so called black leaders” protesting in front of the Post if he puts more emphasis on this story?  Who cares? Let them sit on the train with the troublemakers, without the transit police in sight, and see what it feels like to witness mayhem and deal with harassment like the woman featured in a front page article on Friday.

‘Where was the security?’

Nationals fans clad in red pour off the Green Line at Gallery Place, creating a massive bottleneck. The crowd headed outbound to Branch Avenue is much smaller, and when the train arrives, six women in baggy shorts and polos with oversize collars board the same car. One starts doing pull-ups on the train’s metal bar. Another marches down the aisle, shouting “Check me out!” Other passengers — Nationals fans, people heading home from work, couples returning from the movies — smile and laugh.

Then the scene gets tense. One of the young women, who won’t give her name, starts mocking a 58-year-old woman named Carol who is studying a physiology textbook in the middle of the car.

“You look like my teacher, Mrs. Wright,” the taunting woman says. “You can’t fail me anymore!” The crowd laughs, more hesitantly this time. Then the barrage of insults starts. The woman puts her nose in Carol’s hair. “You smell like cat piss,” the woman says.

Carol looks down at her book, trying to ignore the assault.

“It’s because of you that I’m gay,” the woman continues. “It’s because of you that my children are mentally retarded.” The woman gives her friends high-fives after each insult, and they laugh together. A family in Nationals uniforms moves to the other side of the car.

Five Guardian Angels arrive. They stand at one end of the car, arms crossed, silent. The woman in the baggy shorts looks at the youngest Angel, who appears to be in his teens. “What are you, 12?” she screams. “What are you gonna do, skateboard?” The Angels, in trademark red berets, do not respond.

“Ha!” the woman exclaims. “These Angels ain’t guarding [expletive].”

After a few minutes, the Angels leave the car. The woman continues to viciously mock Carol.

Carol, her tormentor and the rest of her group get off at Suitland. One of the women tells Carol, “I’m sorry, it’s just that we’ve been drinking.” She puts her arm around Carol.

Carol walks toward a cab. “You know, I wasn’t scared by what happened in there,” she says. “I was embarrassed that everyone, especially the Caucasians, had to see one black woman insulting another black woman like that. Still, what if things had escalated? The Angels were there, but they didn’t do anything. Where was the security?”

As a black woman I want to know more about the August 6 melee.  I don’t like this tip toeing around because the kids are black. Hell I knew they were black. I’ve seen how some of these black kids act on the metro and it’s not a pretty sight. Do I care if the “so called black leaders” raise a ruckus? No I don’t. That will just prove to me even more so that they’ll continue with the excuses and coddle the hoodlums in the black community and as usual don’t give a damn about the victims unless it’s a white on black crime.

I would also like to say something about the Washington Post and its local news coverage. I have noticed that when it comes to the print edition for local news the Post is seriously lacking. You can read the Metro section in less than 2 minutes because it’s that thin. If you want to read any local news you have to go online and click on Local. And even then some of the local news online is in blog format and not a news article. Why bother with a print edition of the Metro section when you print mostly one paragraph articles about what’s going on locally in the Post? The Post use to be better than this. The print version of the Post seems to spend most of it time on national politics and of course Sarah Palin. I’ve seen news stories from around the world receiving better coverage than local news in the print edition. I guess that’s why they have a separate local section online. And the Washington Post wonders why they’re seeing a decline in subscribers. I’m seriously thinking about cutting back my service to Sunday only.

Maybe it’s because I’m old school that I still read the paper. It’s a habit I’ve had since I was a youngster. I also enjoy reading the news on the internet. I check out news sites from all over the country and the world. But when it comes to my local paper I would still like to enjoy reading the print edition of the Washington Post.


While checking out my google alerts I saw an item about a new website aimed at African Americans called TheGrio.com.  But as one of the Grio team members states: the site is for anyone and everyone who has an interest in its content.


NBC Universal launched TheGrio which focuses on news and video. The site will gather content from NBC News, its own NBC affiliates and MSNBC.   According to the TheGrio.com site:

TheGrio.com is the first video-centric news community site devoted to providing African Americans with stories and perspectives that appeal to them but are underrepresented in existing national news outlets. TheGrio features aggregated and original video packages, news articles, and blogs on topics from breaking news, politics, health, business, and entertainment, which concern its niche audience.

TheGrio is brought to you through the cooperation of NBC News and the production team that brought you the documentary film, Meeting David Wilson.

The goal of TheGrio is to be the news portal that satisfies the desire of African Americans to stay informed and connected with their community. TheGrio’s editorial mandate is to focus on news and events that have a unique interest and/or pronounced impact within the national African Americans audience.

The Washington Post continues to shrink

Back in March I blogged about the shrinking Washington Post. Well the shrinking continues. I received my Sunday paper and apparently they are phasing out TV Week unless you call or fill out a form to opt in.


I did a google and found out that this started earlier this year in Northern Virginia. They’re now targeting Prince Georges County subscribers. Here’s what I found at the Washington City Paper:

Up to now, the Washington Post has taken some pretty standard steps toward shrinking itself, consisting of shuttering some sections and taking aim and duplication. Now comes some genuine innovation on the reductionist front: An opt-in scheme for the paper’s redundant TV Week insert.

According to the plan subscribers in Arlington and Alexandria must notify the Post that they want to continue receiving TV Week. If they don’t take that step, it’ll stop coming. Partial motivation for this step is protecting the environment, as the memo states, in what’s easily the most creative of the reasons for this move.

And here is the information to readers of TV Week:

The Post is rolling out a new system March 1 called “Opt-In” for home delivery subscribers in Arlington and Alexandria. Opt-In lets readers decide whether they want to get TV Week with their Sunday package. We began communicating with readers this past weekend about this change, which makes sense on several levels:

  • It delivers TV Week to every Post subscriber who wants it while reducing The Post’s costs.
  • More and more subscribers can get listings on their TV sets because of the growth of digital television.
  • It’s the green thing to do, as printing fewer copies means saving trees, ink and more — plus, it means less recycling to haul to the curb.

Subscribers have to contact us by Feb. 23 to say they want TV Week. There are two ways to opt-in:

  • Call 202-334-WEEK (202-334-9335) and tell us you want to continue to get TV Week.
  • Clip out the coupon printed in the Arlington/Alexandria zone of their TV Week and mail it in.

Starting March 1, only those Alexandria and Arlington subscribers who have told us they want TV Week will get it, as will any reader who buys a copy of The Post sold in stores or from a news rack. The daily Style section will continue to provide television coverage, as will http://www.washingtonpost.com/tv.

So if a person opts in what happens if the delivery person screws up and gives you a paper without TV Week?

Call me a forty something old schooler but I prefer to have TV Week in my hand so I can see what’s on tv for the week.  I don’t like the idea of having to go to the internet all the time to see what’s on tv.  I do use the guide on my cable for recording purposes and to find shows on channels not listed in TV Week, but I like the convenience of having TV Week sitting on my coffee table.  So I decided to opt in.

I guess the next thing the Post will do is turn into a tabloid size newspaper since they’re on a reduction frenzy.  Or maybe they’ll turn into an internet only paper like the Seattle PI 😦

Online dating and the race factor

A study about the internet dating scene by University of California at Irvine sociologists has shown that people follow racial stereotypes when it comes to finding a love connection. Cynthia Felicano and Belinda Robnett collected their data from Yahoo personals in 2004 and 2005. They chose random profiles of people from ages 18 to 50 in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and Atlanta. The study showed that while white men are more open to interracial dating compared to white women, white men had a stronger preference for asian and latina women. Black women are considered the least desirable.  For white women who are open to interracial dating, asian men are considered the least desirable.

Demographic changes brought about by the recent influx of immigrants from Asia and Latin America have the potential to alter race relations in the United States. But if a study by UC Irvine sociologists is any indication, the cross-cultural revolution is not going to be launched on the internet dating scene, where people often follow racial stereotypes when looking for love.

Cynthia Feliciano and Belinda Robnett collected data from Yahoo personals between September 2004 and May 2005, randomly selecting profiles of people ages 18-50 in the Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Atlanta metropolitan regions. While white men were more open to dating outside their race than white women, both had specific racial preferences. White men preferred Asian and Latino dating partners to African Americans; white women were more likely to exclude Asian men.

Stereotypes shown by the media don’t help matters. Mainstream media and yes even some black folks and black media outlets have helped in portraying black women in a negative light.

According to Feliciano, negative portrayals of African American women and Asian men in popular culture could contribute to these preferences.

“Stereotypical images of masculinity and femininity shape dating choices and continue to be perpetuated in the mass media,” says Feliciano, sociology and Chicano/Latino studies assistant professor. “The hyper-feminine image of Asian American women contrasts greatly with that of Asian men, who are often portrayed as asexual.”

In comparison, the image of the strong African American woman is at odds with idealized notions of submissive and frail women. This may explain why African American women faced high levels of rejection among men, researchers say.

“Cultural portrayals of African American women in the media continue to stress traits seen as negative, such as bossiness,” Feliciano says.

I’ve heard and seen comments from black women that when they look at personal ads not only do they see non black men asking for every type of woman but black women, they’ve seen a few black men with those same type of ads.  Of course the internet isn’t the only way to meet your mate whether you date interracially or if you prefer your own race.  And despite the fact that the media throws stereotypes in our faces when it comes to black women and asian men you do see a growing number of black women dating non black men and asian men dating non asian women.  I’ve had two asian male supervisors in my working life and they were both married to white women.

The chart below shows a racial breakdown when it comes to marriages in the United States in 2006.  This chart dispels the myth that black men/white women are the largest interracial married couples in the United States.  I never understood where people got that info from.  White men/asian women are the number one interracial marriage combination.


Check out the entire UC Irvine dating article here and check out the article about coping with four common obstacles in interracial dating here.

Internet use increases in the United States

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau the number of households with internet access has gone from 18 percent in 1997 to 62 percent in 2007.  Among those with internet access, 82 percent have high speed internet while 17 percent use a dial-up connection.

When it comes to states, New Hampshire, Alaska, Washington (state) and Vermont have the highest rates of internet usage from home, work or public access while Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama and Arkansas have the lowest rates of internet use.

Internet Use Triples in Decade, Census Bureau Reports

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that 62 percent of households reported using Internet access in the home in 2007, an increase from 18 percent in 1997, the first year the bureau collected data on Internet use. (See Table 1.)

Sixty-four percent of individuals 18 and over used the Internet from any location in 2007, while only 22 percent did so in 1997. (See table 2.)

Among households using the Internet in 2007, 82 percent reported using a high-speed connection, and 17 percent used a dial-up connection. (See Table 1.)

“As access to high speed connections have become more prevalent, so too have the number of people that connect to the Internet at home,” said Thom File, a statistician with the Census Bureau Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division. “These data give us a better understanding of who is using the Internet and from where.”

Among the states, Alaska and New Hampshire residents had among the highest rates of Internet use from any location (home, work or public access) for those 3 and older in 2007. Mississippi and West Virginia had among the lowest rates of Internet use at about 52 percent. (See Table 3.)

Internet usage also varied by education. For individuals 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree, 87 percent reported going online from any location in 2007. For those with only some college, 74 percent reported using the Internet. About half (49 percent) of those with only a high school diploma reported using the Internet, compared with 19 percent for those without a high school diploma.

Internet usage also varied by race; 69 percent of whites lived in households with Internet use, while the same was true for 51 percent of blacks, 73 percent of Asians and 48 percent of Hispanics. (See Table 2.)

When looking at age groups, the percentage of 18- to 34-year-olds who accessed the Internet was more than double (73 percent) that of people 65 and older (35 percent). Among children 3 to 17, 56 percent used the Internet. (See Table 2.)

You can check out the stats located in the detailed tables page. The Excel link gives a much better reading of the stats.  If you don’t have Microsoft Office Excel on your pc check out the Excel 2003 downloads page where you can download Microsoft Office Excel Viewer.  The latest version of Excel Viewer can be found here.

Rock on, Sistahs!

Blogging has become so popular since I first started blogging a few years ago and it’s amazing to find so many different types of blogs out there. I found one that peaked my interest earlier today called Rock On, Sistahs! As the description states:

A blog that celebrates Women of Color who make Rock music, Women of Color who dig Rock music, and the people who dig them

So if you’re into black female rockers and rockers in general give this blog a look see.

Courtland Milloy wants you to tone it down

Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy isn’t happy about what he’s seeing in the comments section of his column. He thinks some folks act like drunken bums in a barroom brawl. But you know what?  It’s not just Courtland’s columns or the Washington Post that have this problem. You see this in quite a number of newspaper sites that allow comments.  The comments areas says to report abusive posts but does that help any? I wonder if the Post or any other paper really monitor their comments section.

Online Readers Should Tone Down the Invective

By Courtland Milloy
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Who are you people?

You get invited to make comments about my work on The Washington Post Web site, and you turn my online message post into a dart board. You swagger into cyberspace under assumed names and start hurling invectives like drunks in a barroom brawl.

Sorry, but I must ask some of you to go elsewhere.

I wrote a column recently about alleged racial discrimination in the D.C. fire department, then went to see what I hoped would be your enlightened responses. What I found was uva2manassas and ged0368 at each others’ throats. And now I’ve had enough. I’m used to getting impassioned feedback, but this was out of hand.

UVA2: “Instead of stupidly reponding ‘racism’ to every critism, prove blacks aren’t lazy morons by bettering yourself.”

GED: “you are a racist white reneck. White ppl did the slaving on every race.”

Look at that, using broken English like shards of a whiskey bottle to attack each other.

Such uncouth behavior not only discourages thoughtful guests from expressing their views, but it also diminishes my online reader profile. As my colleague David Ignatius noted in his op-ed column Sunday about the future of the newspaper business, newspaper Web sites need to become more profitable if we are to survive. And the more we know about our online readers, the more precisely we can sell their demographics to advertisers.

Sure, I get some intelligent comment, but lately I’m wondering what to make of the growth of an increasingly noxious demographic.

I’ll read the comments in a few articles but most times I don’t bother cause some folks are just plain crazy.

That’s why I’m happy that blogs like WordPress let you have the opportunity to approve comments.  I tried the other method of letting folks comment without approval and let’s just say never again.  Some folks just don’t know how to respond to a blog post in a civilized manner.

Aisha Tyler to host talk show pilot

Actress-comedian Aisha Tyler will be hosting a talk show pilot for ABC. The Aisha Tyler Show will include a combination of comedic political commentary, comedy segments and an internet connection with the audience.


Aisha Tyler tapped for talk show

By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Actress-comedian Aisha Tyler will host a “hybrid” talk show pilot for ABC.

“The Aisha Tyler Show” will incorporate aspects of a traditional talk show with comedic political commentary, comedy segments and other elements usually associated with late-night shows. Aimed at a younger audience, “Tyler” is being developed as a fully “wired” concept, with fans being able to communicate with Tyler via Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

There has been speculation that the project might be eyed for ABC’s afternoon block, which airs the soaps “All My Children,” “One Life to Live” and “General Hospital.” (CBS recently canceled its long-running soap “Guiding Light” and will replace it with a game or talk show.)

But ABC sources stressed that “Tyler” is being targeted for syndication or cable.

Tyler recently appeared in the feature “Bedtime Stories” and on her recent Comedy Central special “Aisha Tyler Is Lit: Live at the Fillmore.” She’s completing a U.S. stand-up tour and next will write, direct and star in a series of webisodes for Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s FunnyOrDie.com.

I’m looking forward to watching her talk show. I hope the pilot’s successful and gets picked up.  First Wanda Sykes and now Aisha. Finally some change in the late night talk show arena.

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