E-Society Classification

Spatial-Literacy.org have devised an e-society classification system for the UK, which caught my eye recently, based on a report of the E-Society (PDF).

Now, UK residents can check to see which of the 23 classifications they are in. The classifications are based on "based on levels of awareness of different ICTs; levels of use of ICTs; and their perceived impacts upon human capital formation and the quality of life."

The report makes highly interesting reading and some of the classification defy belief, but are based on real types.

The actual classification terms (below, with notes) are as follows:


The E – unengaged are people who "do not have access to electronic communications or technologies". Included here are people who are "too old, too poor or too poorly educated to be able to access them."

This group is broken down by the report into:

  • Low technologists are people who mainly view the Internet as "an electronic version of a mail order catalogue, and not something that you learn from."
  • Cable suffices represents a group of people with limited interest in electronic technologies but "without the education nor income to become heavily engaged in using them." Many have access to cable television.
  • The Technology as fantasy group are
    mainly "old males, some of whom have an interest in electronic technology and like to read about it, but few of whom use it."
  • Mobile’s the limit have low level computers and Internet usage, but use mobiles a lot. Apparently, this group is mainly female and elderly.
  • The Too old to be bothered "feel that they predate anything to do with electronic technologies."
  • The Elderly marginalised are mainly older people who feel that technology is "moving on at a rate faster than they can keep up with."

GROUP B: THE ‘E – MARGINALISED’ represents those people who either "lack the disposable income to equip themselves with" new technologies them, or who don't have "the training and education needed to understand how to make effective use of them."

Here are the sub-categories:

  • The Net ; What’s that?. This group "are not engaged have very little interest" in most technologies, but are probably interested in owning a mobile phone.
  • Mobile Explorers :- are mainly young people who "have a high level of access to the Internet both at home at work. They enjoy using computers to play games and to watch videos", but not to acquire information.
  • The Cable TV heartland group represents people "for whom technology is an important lifestyle statement..." who "...read a lot about technology in magazines and spend a lot of time on the Internet."

GROUP C: BECOMING ENGAGED are those who generally acquire their ICT experience at work. They include:

  • E-bookers and communicators, who are active users of email and mobile phones, and who download a lot of music, but who do "not make use of the latest technical features of information technology."
  • Peer group adopters are "even more reliant upon email, text messaging and the use of mobiles to participate in peer group activities" and are generally young people with low incomes who live with their parents.

GROUP D: E FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND SHOPPING are interested in the Internet for providing "access to music, games and general entertainment".

  • Small time net shoppers are those people who generally "rely upon the Internet to buy music, books and videos"
  • E for entertainment. This group "access the Internet using broadband" and buy computer games, but they are not very interested in Internet shopping.

GROUP E: E-INDEPENDENTS are those who "take a rational and considered view of electronic communications and technologies"

  • Rational utilitarians use the Internet for shopping and usually are not interested in its use for games or leisure.
  • Committed learners "consists of well educated, urban professionals with a high proportion of middle aged females" who "consider information technology as a natural method of acquiring information".
  • Light users are mainly people who are in late middle age and do not feel the need to keep up with peer groups and are not interested in fashions, but who do have some access to ICTs.

GROUP F: INSTUMENTAL E-USERS are those who use ICTs "because they provide a practical method of saving time or money", and they are generally well off, middle class, and many have children.

  • E for financial management are people who have access to mobiles, email and the Internet through their work, and who are competent users who use ICTs to keep in touch with people mainly for work reasons.
  • On-line apparel purchasers. These people are mainly "well educated young professionals, many of them women, who are confident users of electronic technologies and communications" and who use the Internet at home and mainly for shopping.
  • The E-exploring for fun group uses the computer extensively, buy a lot and are mostly men in their thirties.

GROUP G: E-BUSINESS USERS consists of people who need "to keep in electronic contact with...customers. Many of this group are self employed and make relatively little use of the technology as a leisure activity."

  • Electronic orderers. Many of these users need technology to manage their businesses.

GROUP H: E-EXPERTS make full use of electronic technologies and "prefer on line to inter-personal sources of information and make use of the Internet as an information source...and see leisure time spent on electronic technologies as enhancing their human capital".

  • The E-committed "find it easy to acquire and master new technologies" and "rely on the Internet for information"
  • E - professionals are those people who
    view the Internet, etc "as a indispensable basis of living" and who use ICTs in their professional lives.

Finally, the site allows people in the UK to enter their postcode and to see a general summary of their area, according to the survey results. I posted my parent's postcode and (no surprise here I think) this led to these results. Another reminder of why I left the area I suppose!


  1. Hi Graham! I think you would like this book: "Shoot The Puppy: a Survival Guide to Modern Jargon", by Tony Thorne, Head of Language at King's College London.

    And for those tedious meetings, look no further than Buzzword Bingo. E-mail me for a copy.

    Kind regards,

    Mike Ivy

  2. very nice breakdown...is very useful to step back and think ab that a bit...will web 2.0/3.0 really be able to be viewed as an experience/activity of the masses..
    especially when things develop in a more 3d direction...seems to me that lack of time and energy are also big hurdles to climb...not to mention the lack of interest...which is probably the most difficult roadblock to get past...but what keeps the hope alive is that these technologies should catch on like they deserve to..partly due to the fact that they help to unleash the creativity in people...seems to me that one of the sad things about day-to-day reality for so many persons is that they carry out a function...perform a routine... that these types of new media really can and do act as a great outlet for this repressed desire to create...


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