I’ve contracted an odd behavioral tick. Every time I see someone talking or texting on their phone, I feel compelled to reach into my pocket and check to make sure my phone is there, or check it for missed calls or messages. It’s a similar reaction to being next to someone who yawns. It happens a lot, because everywhere I go downtown people are glued to some kind of device. And very often they are walking and poking a screen at the same time. I don’t recommend it.
However, not everyone in Minneapolis is that connected. Now Minneapolis city officials want to know how big that “digital divide” is, so the city has hired a research firm to conduct a survey of 8,800 households chosen at random from across the city. The surveys, which will be mailed next week, will ask people how they use mobile devices, computers and the internet.
City officials say the goal is to figure out where to focus dollars from its Digital Inclusion Fund. The fund was established in 2007 after the city contracted with Minnetonka-based USI Wireless to build a citywide wireless network.