Number Matters: The Multimodality of Internet Use as an Indicator of the Digital Inequalities



This study explores the multimodality of Internet use as a critical indicator of digital inequalities. Rather than relying on traditional measures of user/nonuser and information/entertainment uses, this study focuses on a broad scope of online activities and investigates them collectively. Results show that the more modes of Internet activities people are engaged in, the more advanced uses they will add to their online behaviors. Female, older, poorer, and less educated only use the Internet for very limited basic applications, which are associated with fewer political communication and participation. While previous research concludes that the type of Internet activities matters, this study suggests that it is the number of types that matters in examining potential inequalities and their social consequences.