*Direct correspondence to Dr. Nicole Zillien, Fachbereich IV—Soziologie, Universität Trier, Universitätsring 15, 54286 Trier, Germany 〈firstname.lastname@example.org〉. We will share all data and coding information with those wishing to replicate the study.
Digital Distinction: Status-Specific Types of Internet Usage*
Article first published online: 13 APR 2009
© 2009 by the Southwestern Social Science Association
Social Science Quarterly
Volume 90, Issue 2, pages 274–291, June 2009
How to Cite
Zillien, N. and Hargittai, E. (2009), Digital Distinction: Status-Specific Types of Internet Usage. Social Science Quarterly, 90: 274–291. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2009.00617.x
- Issue published online: 13 APR 2009
- Article first published online: 13 APR 2009
Objective. Sociologists of technology propose that not only a technological artifact, as such, but also patterns of usage should be considered when studying the social implications of technologies. Accordingly, we explore how people's online activities are influenced by users' socioeconomic status and context of use.
Methods. We analyze data from the Allensbacher Computer and Technology Analysis (ACTA) 2004 survey with uniquely detailed information about people's Internet uses and context of usage to explore this relationship.
Results. Findings suggest that high-status and low-status individuals cultivate different forms of “Internet-in-practice.” High-status users are much more likely to engage in so-called capital-enhancing activities online than are their less privileged counterparts.
Conclusion. Results suggest differential payoffs from Internet use depending on a user's socioeconomic background. Digital inequalities might be mitigated by improving people's Internet equipment and digital experience, but they do not account for all the status differential in use.