Little is known about the geography of Internet use and online participation in Britain, although there is evidence of major geographic inequalities in access and use (eg Internet use in Scotland is 20 percentage points below the East Midlands). This research will produce the first detailed geographic estimates of Internet use. Specifically it will combine the Oxford Internet Survey (OxIS) with the census and several special-purpose datasets on important metrics of Internet use and participation (eg tweets, Wikipedia articles, photo uploads).
The project will investigate the geography of several types of use. First is simple use or non-use of the Internet. There are many ways of interacting with, using, and communicating through the Internet, so the project will also examine online buying and selling, social networking, banking and finance, information and entertainment seeking, politics and communication.
The Internet is a unique medium in that it allows ordinary users to create and distribute content. The project will thus explore online content production in the form of blogs, personal websites, uploading music or videos, and others. The project will use maps of the geographic distribution of use as well as multivariate, inferential studies that predict the geographic inequalities in digital Britain.
This project is supported by the ESRC.