The Universiy of California San Diego’s Roger Bohn has recently released a mammoth study on the information consumption of Americans. It’s a treasure-trove of interesting data that tracks, among other things, the media consumption habits of US consumers.
In 2008, Americans consumed information for about 1.3 trillion hours, an average of almost 12 hours per day. Consumption totaled 3.6 zettabytes and 10,845 trillion words, corresponding to 100,500 words and 34 gigabytes for an average person on an average day.
And, thanks to things like blogs and newspaper websites, reading has staged a comeback:
The traditional media of radio and TV still dominate our consumption per day, with a total of 60 percent of the hours. In total, more than three-quarters of U.S. households’ information time is spent with non-computer sources.Despite this, computers have had major effects on some aspects of information consumption. In the past, information consumption was overwhelmingly passive, with telephone being the only interactive medium. Thanks to computers, a full third of words and more than half of bytes are now received interactively.Reading, which was in decline due to the growth of television, tripled from 1980 to 2008, because it is the overwhelmingly preferred way to receive words on the Internet.