Part of the Daily American Diet, 34 Gigabytes of Data

The average American consumes about 34 gigabytes of data and information each day — an increase of about 350 percent over nearly three decades — according to a report published Wednesday by researchers at the University of California, San Diego. According to calculations in the report, that daily information diet includes about 100,000 words, both those read in print and on the Web as well as those heard on television and the radio. By comparison, Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” contains about 460,000 words. The researchers, who built their work on previous studies of information consumption, found that Americans take in data through various channels, including the television, radio, the Web, text messages and video games. Most of this time is spent in front of screens watching TV-related content, averaging nearly five hours of daily consumption. Second is radio, which the average American listens to for about 2.2 hours a day. The computer comes in third, at just under two hours a day. Video games take up about an hour, and reading takes up 36 minutes. Most of these experiences happen simultaneously, like talking on the phone while checking e-mail, or instant messaging while watching TV. Overall, information consumption is increasing at about 6 percent a year, the report estimated. Collectively, American households consumed 3.6 zettabytes of information of all kinds in 2008, the researchers estimated.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/10/technology/10data.html?_r=2&ref=media

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