Study: Online users in US don't know Internet lingo

The average American Internet user doesn’t know the meaning of some of the hottest new online terms, according to a study released this month by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

While users know the definitions of some common Internet terms such as firewall and spam, they often don’t know the meanings of terms like podcasting and RSS feeds, according to the survey, which was conducted between May 4 and June 7. During this period, researchers contacted 2,001 adults in the U.S.

And 70 percent of users have never heard of phishing or say they aren’t really sure what it means. Phishing refers to unsolicited e-mails that attempt to snare an Internet user’s sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, by pretending to be a trustworthy person on business.

Eighty-seven percent of users aren’t familiar with podcasting, whereby audio files are downloaded from Web sites onto MP3 players, such as Apple’s iPods, and played at the convenience of users.

Some 91 percent of users surveyed are unfamiliar with the term “RSS feed,” which is a file format that allows syndication of Web content, including blog postings, to those who have subscribed to the material. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.

Men who spend time online are more likely than women to be aware of these terms, while people with college degrees are more aware than those with high school diplomas.

In addition, people who go online frequently are more familiar with these terms than users who spend less time surfing the Web. And older internet users are less likely than younger ones to understand the meanings of these terms, the Pew research found.

This story, "Study: Online users in US don't know Internet lingo" was originally published by PCWorld.

  
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