Pew: Internet a go-to source for local business info

We are a discriminating audience, a bit like fact pickers, rummaging around the new and traditional information streams to find the treasures, the useful bits of news about local business,  a new Pew report has found.

In a nudge to local businesses not yet active in Internet marketing, Pew reports that the Internet is the go-to source for people learning about restaurants and other local businesses.

How people learn about their local community,  an 81-page report by the Pew Internet Project, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, and the Knight Foundation released Sept. 26 looked at 16 topic areas to understand where people went to get the scoop on neighborhood happenings.

The survey found that people use the internet as a “main source for information about restaurants and other local businesses, and it is tied with newspapers as a top source for material about housing, jobs and schools — all areas that place a special value on consumer input.”

It also found that  Internet searches were the preferred source for local information while social media is an emerging source.

Social media is becoming a factor in how people learn about their local community, but it is not as popular as other digital forms, such as specialty websites and search engines. In all, 17% of adults say they get local information on social networking sites like Facebook at least monthly.

Still, Pew says  that  41% of  adults can be considered “local news participators,”   contributing to the local information stream via social media,  online conversation and article sharing.

Pew found that the majority of Americans (64%) use three different types of media every week to get local news and information. It found that 15% of us rely on at least six different kinds of media weekly. And for the 79% of us who are online, the internet tops our list of local sources.

We are getting our local info on the go — nearly half of adults (47%) use mobile devices to get local information, with categories such as restaurants being particularly popular.

Although I’ve found apps  to be the darling in the 20-something set who attend tech shows and hackathons, most of us don’t use them, except the 5% of us who use a mobile app for the weather.

It is good to know that we are still talking with each other and that’s how we learn about happenings in our neighborhoods.

At the same time, the survey finds both citizen-based information sources and some very old forms of media remain vital as well. Print newsletters, online listservs and old-fashioned word of mouth are important means by which people learn in particular about community events and local schools.

And finally, looking at the findings age wise:

View an interactive graphic that lets you pick and choose among categories.

 

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