Decade Down, Internet Up

It was a downer of a decade. According to a Pew Research Center for the People & The Press survey, relatively few Americans have positive things to say about the last decade. By a roughly 2-1 ratio, more say they have a generally negative rather than a generally positive impression of the past 10 years.

Happy to put the 2000s behind them, most Americans are optimistic that the 2010s will be better. Nearly 6-in-10 say they think the next decade will be better than the last for the country as a whole, though roughly a third think things will be worse.

Respondents were quizzed on a number of topics and their impact during the decade, including technology such as the Internet, cell phones and social media. Those findings include:

• The Internet and e-mail are widely seen in a favorable light. About two-thirds (65%) say both the Web and e-mail have been changes for the better, while just 16% say the Internet has been a change for the worse and 7% say e-mail has been a change for the worse.

• Nearly 7-in-10 (69%) say cell phones are a change for the better compared with just 14% who call them a change for the worse. Overall, the public’s take on cell phones is slightly better than it was 10 years ago.

• The public is ambivalent on social networking sites such as Facebook. About a third (35%) call them a change for the better, 21% say they have been a change for the worse, while 31% say social networking sites have not made much of a difference.

Source: Pew Research Center For the People & The Press