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Microsoft: Less Than Half Of U.S. Adults Get It

Microsoft-sponsored survey found that fewer than 50 percent of U.S. adults are hip to the latest technology buzzwords and even fewer can say what VoIP, RSS or tagging mean.

The poll, released this month and conducted by Harris Interactive for Microsoft on its Windows Live service, found that only 43 percent of U.S. adults understand the latest batch of IT buzzwords, even though some may have actually used the technology during the survey.

One in three U.S. adults aren’t sure how to describe VoIP, and 71 percent said they had never heard of RSS feeds. Forty-six percent aren’t certain what Internet tagging means, although they are likely bookmarking favorite Web pages and organizing them daily. Although 79 percent of U.S. adults are aware of blogs, approximately only 17 percent admitted to typically reading them. Also according to the survey, this is especially true among women, who are significantly less likely to know the meaning of these terms than men.

At least one Microsoft partner was surprised that the percentage of buzzword-literate U.S. adults—43 percent—was as strong as it is.

“Anything over 40 percent would impress me as a lot [of people],” said Andrew Brust, CTO of New York-based consultancy twentysix New York. “All these Web 2.0 terms belong to a lexicon that only some people have a command of. It’s an insular group, mind you, but it’s definitely not mainstream.”

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