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Preliminary Impacts of the Internet

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How Subscribers Use the BEV Network

by Professor Rebekah Bromley, Department of Communications Studies, Virginia Tech November 1994

BEV users responding to our survey spent an average of 78 minutes per day using the on-line services. However, more than one-half of our sample (55 percent) reported using BEV services for one hour or less each day. Nearly 30 percent used BEV services for more than one and one-half hours a day. The most popular BEV service was electronic mail, with 97 percent of subscribers using this network feature and almost two-thirds of the users (65.2 percent) accessing the option at least once a day. Thirty percent said they logged on to check electronic mail more than once a day. Among the purposes for using electronic mail, chit-chat with family or friends was checked most frequently by respondents (85 percent). Forty-three percent of respondents said they used electronic mail for professional or academic purposes; 39 percent for business uses, and 48 percent for recreational uses.

Four-fifths of BEV subscribers used the network to access information such as databases, library catalogs and remote computers, with 25 percent of the subscribers using the service daily or every other day and 23 percent of participants using the service about once a week. The most frequent use of the network for databases and other sources of information was for recreational purposes (60 percent), such as hobbies and special interest. Thirty percent of respondents also use those electronic information sources for academic or professional purposes and 20 percent for business purposes.

Electronic bulletin boards or news groups were used by 62 percent of the BEV subscribers with slightly more than one-half of the users (53 percent) accessing the option for recreational purposes, rather than for business, professional or academic purposes.