Online forums and communities kept active by the good nature of 5.2 million Brits
Once every six seconds someone goes onto the web to ‘give’ or ‘share’ information with others
Study supports launch of TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards, recognising inspiring individuals who use digital technologies to help others
1 September 2011: For many, the old saying “do unto others...” now applies to the web as much as it does the offline world. New research by TalkTalk, the phone, broadband and mobile company, has found that online forums and communities are powered by the good nature of just 5.2 million Brits. Whilst just under half of the population (42%) regularly ask questions online and read people’s answers, only one in ten actually share their skills and knowledge with others.
In the absence of financial gain, such communities, forums and social media websites are run mainly on karma: almost half (44%) of those who answer questions or post advice say they do so because they themselves might need help in the future. Two-in-five (41%) cite a feel-good factor as the reason to help others, whilst a quarter (24%) say it’s their duty since they have specialist knowledge.
The study, which supports the launch of TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards, identifies four groups which Britons have a pre-disposition to belong to:
Givers: who mainly give advice online (14%);
Fishers: who mainly ask questions of the community (13%);
Sharers: who act as signposts directing others to answers (6%); and
Spongers: who absorb information from previously resolved issues (67%).
Karma vs kudos
Perhaps surprisingly, the TalkTalk research shows the noble few are more likely to be male. Almost a quarter (24%) of men who use such sites to exchange information are ‘Givers’ or ‘Sharers’, compared with just 17% of females.
Yet when it comes to the reasons behind helping others, almost half of women (49%) say they are seeking good karma. Men on the other hand, are more likely to driven by the kudos of being seen as an expert (30% compared with 19%) or to gain a high website ranking (8% compared with 4%).
Reason for ‘giving’ and ‘sharing’
|Proportion of male ‘Givers’ and ‘Sharers’that say it’s a contributing factor||Proportion of female ‘Givers’ and ‘Sharers’that say it’s a contributing factor|
|Makes me feel good||41%||41%|
|Someone specifically asked me to||26%||24%|
|I feel compelled as I have specialist knowledge||30%||19%|
|To enter a prize draw||16%||14%|
|To get a high website ranking||8%||4%|
On average, ‘Givers’ and ‘Sharers’ log on twice a day to post answers and advise others where to get information.
Someone goes onto the web once every six seconds to ‘give’ or ‘share’ information with others.
Scots are the most generous with their time. Over a quarter (28%) consider themselves ‘Givers’ or ‘Shares’, almost twice as many as in those in the South East (15%).
|Proportion that are ‘givers’ or ‘sharers’|
|Yorkshire and Humber||18%|
|East of England||16%|
People are more likely to become ‘Givers’ in their middle years. 45 is the age when people tend to answer more questions and post more links than they ask for, or receive, help.
Forums are the most popular type of site for people to exchange information on (57%). Facebook is the second most popular site with 44% of people using it to give or receive advice; however Twitter languishes behind in last place with just 15% of people using it for this purpose.
Type of website
|Proportion of those who use the web to exchange advice that use the type of site|
You can find out more information on TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards, working with Citizens Online, and how to enter at: www.talktalk.co.uk/digitalheroes. Entries are welcomed until 11th September 2011.
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For more information
Phil Szomszor / Toby Clark
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
0207 282 2857
TalkTalk now has over 4.2 million broadband and phone customers signed up to TalkTalk and AOL Broadband.
TalkTalk operates a fully unbundled network, which extends to over 2,000 exchanges and covers over 80% of our customers.
In uSwitch's Customer Satisfaction Report 2010, TalkTalk was voted the best value for money home phone provider. And in Top10.com's Broadband Awards 2010, TalkTalk Essentials was voted the best home broadband. TalkTalk also picked up Top10.com's best broadband and home phone award.
TalkTalk's site (www.talktalk.co.uk) is the online hub for customers to manage their account, use their webmail, resolve their problems and access a range of information and entertainment content. The site is used by nearly three million users every month.
TalkTalk is one of seven partners behind YouView (www.youview.com), the new internet-connected TV service, along with the BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, Arqiva and Five. YouView is expected to launch to UK homes in 2012.
Follow TalkTalk on Twitter and on our blog: @TalkTalkTips and www.talktalkblog.co.uk.
About Citizens Online
Citizens Online, founded in 2000, is the UK’s leading digital participation charity and is committed to ensuring that digital technology is easy to access and usable by all.
Citizens Online work closely with industry, government and the voluntary sector to deliver projects, which promote social inclusion and community development through the use of ICT and digital technology.
Citizens Online’s flagship programme Everybody Online has already helped over 100,000 individuals tin 23 disadvantaged communities to get on line for the first time
Find out more at www.citizensonline.org.uk