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Internet-Behavior Typology and Characteristic Features: Cross-National Comparative Analysis

Bodovskaya E1, Dombrovskaya A1*, Gibaulin R1, Kazachenko S1 and Batalina I2

1Moscow State Pedagogical University, Moscow, Russia

2Tula State University, Tula, Russia

*Corresponding Author:
Dombrovskaya A
Moscow State Pedagogical University
Moscow, Russia
Tel: 89208152626
E-mail: an-doc@yandex.ru

Received date: October 03, 2016; Accepted date: November 05, 2016; Published date: November 13, 2016

Citation: Bodovskaya E, Dombrovskaya A, Gibaulin R, et al. Internet-Behavior Typology and Characteristic Features: Cross-National Comparative Analysis. Global Media Journal. 2016, 14:27.

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Abstract

This study is aimed at identifying the main types of Internet-behavior and comparing their characteristics among the inhabitants of different countries. Respondents’ Internet-behavior typology is carried out based on the results of opinion polls that have been conducted in 13 World Internet Project member countries (China, Chile, Republic of Cyprus, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Taiwan, UK, Uruguay and USA). This typology includes social clusters: "innovators", "traditionalists", "entertained", "pragmatic" and "disconnected". Settings of Internet intensity use and consumed content are quantitative and qualitative criteria for their differentiation. The research presents detailed characteristics of selected types of Internet behavior. Authors compare the proportion of their prevalence in each of studied countries, describe and define the specifics of determinism. Overall, the findings indicate that the characteristics of the national structure of types of Internet behaviors are driven both by levels of ICTs development and by social factors. Authors argue that national models, in which "innovators" and "pragmatists" dominate, are the most effective.

Keywords

Internet-behavior; Social communication, Social cluster; Comparative analysis; People on the Internet

Introduction

Dotcom revolution changed the nature of social behaviour in many ways opening tremendous opportunities to people that were previously not available for them. Improved data speed gave the opportunity for people to read, share and react to the situation in the surrounding society with a much higher rate [1,2].

Internet seemed to be something special back in the mid 90-ies, something available only to advanced geeks, but now it has become a part of everyday life [3]. People have integrated the Internet into their routine existence as a way of communication that allows surfing between the networking, even if they are not there. As a result, the In computer, mobile phone and other gadgets. They were able to maintain contact with right people in large social nternet has become not only a means of communication, but also a tool to find information, advice and help in decision-making. Modern young people cannot imagine their life without network communication [4]. They actually see no difference between virtual and real life. Although not everyone uses global network in such way, but the overall trend is clear: Internet-behavior has become an important feature of modern society.

On the Internet, the physical distance between the subjects does not play a significant role for communication, not only space and time are erased, but there is convergence of cultures, ideologies, traditions and values [5,6]. However, despite the fact that the Internet has become one of the powerful tools and even a symbol of globalization, the users’ behavior on the Web differs considerably in different countries. Internet-behavior national specificity will largely determine the direction and effectiveness of the impact of modern ICT in social, economic and political processes. Therefore, the study of these characteristics, their typology and comparisons are actual scientific problem.

The purpose of this study is to identify the main types of Internetbehavior and to compare their characteristics among the inhabitants of different countries.

Research objectives:

- carry out surveys in selected countries with the use of variables revealing the behavioral aspect of Internet usage;

- implement the typology of allocated Internet-behavior clusters under conducted surveys;

- describe the main types of Internet-behavior;

- compare Internet-behavior features in the countries where the research was conducted.

Scientific interest in the study of behavior characteristics of people on the Internet in the global network is determined by the need to improve the efficiency of Internet communication in different spheres of society life. Represent research pays attention to the study of Internet-behavior formation features in various member countries of World Internet Project (WIP), which is the first study in social sciences.

Views on ICT effect on the population

Exploring the social consequences of ICT rapid development, social scientists focus their attention on two scientific aspects: on the one hand, they are studying the effects of Internet's impact on the behavior of social actors, and on the other - are exploring the Internet as a new space of social communication [2,7]. M. Castells [4] and B. Wellman [8] carried out independently studies that have shown the Internet has led to profound changes in social structures, in particular, organizational outsourcing, work functions in changing teams, and overall increase in social roles [4]. Schmidt and Cohen [9] called those, who have the access to global network, "network club" members and proved that the potential impact on the economy, politics and social sphere of 2 billion "network club" members is incomparably higher than of five billion people that cannot enter into the “club” immediately.

Articles, in which the authors trace the correlation between the features of Internet-behavior and socio-economic, cultural, demographic, national and mental characteristics of people on the Internet, are of particular interest in the context of the research [6,10]. Tufekci [11], who studied the behavior of American college students, concluded drastic changes in behavior that occur in their environment and radically re-structures previous social "solitude in crowd" relations [11].

Blank [12] carried out a typological analysis of the so-called Internet cultures. Because of this method of hierarchical cluster analysis, scientists have identified five types of Internet culture among British Web-users: e-Mersives (12% of UK Internet users); Techno-pragmatists (17%); Cyber-savvy (19% of Internet users); Cyber-moderates (37%); Adigitals (14% of Internet users). Herein, in accordance with World Wide Web Foundation data [13], Britain ranked fourth place in the world in terms of development and Internet impact on society, the first place in terms of content quality. It should be noted that the unilateral conclusions on assessing the Internet role in social behavior are caused by a simplified approach to some analysts, who view the Internet as a kind of uniform structure [13].

While the researchers of social and humanitarian effects of modern ICT mark the uneven development of various sectors of Internet communications in different countries [14]. While Internet use has soared from around 45% to 78% in high-income countries since 2005, in low-income countries it has remained below 10% year after year. Internet penetration grew by only one percentage point per year from 2011-2013 in low-income countries [8]. Taking into account the facts, it is doubtful that the typology proposed by W. Dutton and G. Blank [12] can be applied in countries with a low level of Internet development [5].

The group of World Wide Web Foundation [13] scientists are conducting extensive cross-national social and political researches. These researchers pay attention to measures of the World Wide Web's contribution to social, economic and political progress in countries across the world. However, the typology of national Internet-behaviors comparison remains outside the scope of their research interests. Meanwhile, the behavioral aspect reveals the features of modern ICT effect on social processes in various countries. This factor determines the relevance of research, devoted to cross-national comparative analysis of Internet-behavior types, its characteristics and conditionality.

People on the internet typology

The methodological basis of our study is the integrated use of systemic, structural functional and behaviourist approaches, as well as quantitative and qualitative sociological methods of typology (Internet-behavior clusters detection and their characteristics) and comparative analysis (comparison of the spread of identified clusters and Internet-behavior characteristics features in different countries).

This study is based on the methodology of World Internet Project [15], which examines trends in Internet communication and global network social effects in terms of a single instrumentarium [15]. 13 countries are conducted as an empirical objects of cross-national studies - main members of the World Internet Project. We got sociological data under mass pool in Chile (741 respondents, sample is representative for the type area of residence, district, gender and age), in China (1500 respondents, sample is representative for the type area of residence, district, gender and age), in the Republic of Cyprus (996 respondents, sample is representative for the type area of residence, district, gender and age), in Mexico (2000 respondents, sample is representative for the type area of residence, district, gender and age), in Poland (2007 respondents,, sample is representative for the type area of residence, district, gender and age), in Russia citizens (1600 respondents, sample is representative for the type area of residence, district, gender and age), in the Republic of South Africa (1589 respondents, sample is representative for the type area of residence, district, gender and age), in Sweden citizens (2700 respondents, sample is representative for the type area of residence, district, gender and age), in Switzerland (1114 respondents, sample is representative for the type area of residence, district, gender and age), in the United Kingdom citizens (2057 respondents, sample is representative for the type area of residence, district, gender and age), in Uruguay (2006 respondents, sample is representative for the type area of residence, district, gender and age), in USA (1351 respondents, sample is representative for the type area of residence, district, gender and age), in Taiwan (1115 respondents, sample is representative for the type area of residence, district, gender and age). Maximum sampling error for all the selected countries - no more than 3%.

Clustering variables for the survey were selected in accordance with behavioral aspect revelation of the network use and behavior types’ differentiation depending on the intensity of Internet use:

- at the place (at home, at work, in educational institutions or elsewhere);

- by types of gadgets (stationary and mobile);

- Internet space sectors (the use of email, chatting, calls making over the Internet, filling the blog content, photos or pictures posting, update of social network status, commenting activity);

- by online searching content (new job, education, health, travel, specific facts, term/concept definition, jokes and humorous content);

- by Internet activity types (gaming, shopping, booking services, paying bills, banking, committed investment in shares/bonds/ funds, distance learning).

We also included a mass pool set of questions that allow identifying the characteristic features of perception by respondents of the Internet effect on social and political communication processes.

Quantitative and qualitative indicators of Internet communications, which were presented under the results of polls, inure as an indicator for determining the appropriate behavioral clusters. The combination of these indicators was structured in three components. The first component - characteristics of the phenomenon, which is subjected to the typology, the second -characteristics of social background, in which this phenomenon occurs, the third - factors that explain the existence of manifestation types of the studied phenomenon.

We used statistical data processing package SPSS Base 17.0 for the analysis of empirical data collected in the course of a mass survey. An array of 13 countries was considered as a whole, relevant types of the people on the Internet were identified in this "whole" array. A certain group contains people that do not use the Internet.

Survey results structure includes:

- Internet-behavior typology based on the quantitative analysis of variables obtained through surveys;

- Qualitative characteristics of Internet-behavior identified clusters;

- Internet-behavior dominant clusters comparison in the countries participating in the study.

Quantitative analysis obtained during the survey of variables blocks characterizing intensity and meaningful direction of respondents’ Internet communications identified the following clusters of various types of Internet-behavior:

- "Innovators", who are characterized by intense consumption (12-16 hours per day) of all major types of Internet content;

- "traditionalists", characterized by low-intensity consumption of Internet content (1-2 hours per week);

- "Entertained", who are quite intensively (8-12 hours per day) consuming predominantly recreational Internet content;

- "Pragmatists" (2-4 hours per day) are consuming predominantly educational and vocational-oriented Internet content;

- ”Disconnected” - social actors, who are not involved to Internet communication for a variety of reasons.

The study of socio-demographic characteristics of highlighted clusters’ representatives allows to present typological characteristics of each of them.

"Innovators" is a type of users, for whom the Internet is the habitat and living space, this cluster is the so-called Internefanatics or Internet-obsessed. Such people on the Internet can use all the resources and opportunities of global network are much more intense than other clusters of Internet-behavior. Socio-demographic profile of this cluster is clearly defined: young men and women age of 18-25, who receive higher education and are unmarried.

Representatives of this type carry out social activities virtually, in cyberspace. Communication, online searching, making money, buying goods and services, the implementation of social subjectivity and other "innovators’" actions are carried out on-line. Such a distinctive feature of people on the Internet as orientation to create their own Internet content is the most revealing. "Innovators" are the network content creators. Moreover, these people do not limit the Internet content with Photo and Video (as is the case with "entertain’s" behavior), their work on the network content creation can include the development of websites, blogs, other Internet resources. "Innovators" recognize the relatively high value of World Wide Web as a means of realization of social subjectivity. Representatives of this type of Internet-behaviour demonstrate its social subjectivity by placing their own online comments, as well as authoring forums and other venues to discuss community problems. The political component of "innovators" Internet-behaviour is characterized by optimistic assessment of global network as a tool for political and electronic participation. The representatives of this cluster believe that the Internet expands human opportunities to exercise their rights and freedoms, increases the level of awareness of political decisions and gives the opportunity to express their views on the country's political life.

The specific number of representatives of this type of Internetbehaviour in selected countries is distributed in term of decreasing value: United States - 23.9%, China - 18.1%, the World Bank - 14.6%, Sweden - 12.8%, Cyprus - 12, 3%, Uruguay - 10.7%, Chile - 9.6%, Poland - 8.2%, Switzerland - 6.6%, South Africa - 6.3%, Russia - 5.9%, Taiwan - 3.6%, Mexico - 3.4%.

"Traditionalists" type is the opposite to considered "innovators" type. This type of Internet-behavior is characteristic mainly for the part of the older age group of people on the Internet, who depend quite a bit on the wide area network, use it as a secondary and additional communication channel, situational information source. Internet-behaviour of these people is characterized by irregular and sporadic use of global network. People belonging to analyzed cluster, use the Internet mostly at home due to two factors: preference for a home computer to access the Internet and the ability to get an advice from younger family members in the use of global network.

"Traditionalists" do not have any sustained interest in the Internet. On average, the representatives of this type use e-mail, social networks, online searching once a month. "Traditionalists" is a cluster of people belonging to "TV Party" and prefer direct contact. Global network for them is rather poorly mastered space, social opportunities of which are not fully understood. In particular, representatives of the analyzed type are not prepared to agree with the fact that the Internet allows a better understanding of politicians’ actions or the fact the global network is aimed to force politicians to pay attention to what people think about them.

The specific number of respondents of this type of Internetbehavior: Taiwan - 32.3%, Switzerland - 29.6%, Chile - 27.8%, Russia - 23.9%, Poland - 22.5%, Uruguay - 22.3%, Great Britain - 21.7% Mexico - 17.7%, Sweden - 16.4%, South Africa - 14.9%, USA - 14.6%, Cyprus - 13.0%, China - 5.3%.

We have highlighted the "entertained" cluster under results of the survey. People on the Internet that implement this type of Internet-behavior are orientsd primarily on leisure activities on the Internet. They use a global network as rapidly away from home, as well as at home on average more often than others do. These people tend to use mobile phone or tablet to access the Internet, so they are online almost all the time. A significant factor of "entertain" cluster spread is aborted and the instability of the social nature of its representatives. These features are inherent in the so-called "young Internet audience" [9], which is characterized by the use of entertainment content.

Fun and informal on-line chatting are dominant motives of the use of World Wide Web by representatives of this type. This determines their substantial characteristics of Internet-behavior. In particular, representatives of the "entertained" cluster regularly (from several times a week to daily practice) produce the following actions on the Internet: checking/sending email and instant messages, placing content (photos, videos), reading blogs, are searching for humorous content, playing online games, downloading music, videos, movies. These people use social networking sites much more often than other respondents do (several times a day). Information behavior of such people on the Internet is entirely closed to the use of global network, which is reflected in the consideration of the Internet as a primary source of information, entertainment and communication tools.

At the same time, the representatives of this type are quite positive about the Internet as a means of realization of political subjectivity. The results of the poll showed that respondents from this behavioral cluster believe that the use of global network allows having more options for the implementation of political rights and freedoms, discussing the actions of the government, as well as better understanding of politicians’ actions. In addition, they suggest that government officials have to pay more attention to the fact that they are thinking about people on the Internet. However, realizing the great potential of the Internet for implementation of political subjectivity, "entertained" are rather apolitical, completely loyal to the possibility of strengthening the control of authorities over the network content.

The number of representatives of the cluster in those hina - 17.3%, Taiwan - 15.0%, Great Britain - 13.5%, Chile - 12.8%, Poland - 10.5%, Swcountries that were covered by the study: Mexico - 41.8%, Russia - 33.8%, Uruguay - 23.0%, Cyprus - 18.2%, Citzerland - 9.1%, Sweden - 8.8%, South Africa - 8.0%, USA - 7.0%.

Survey results have allowed isolating and characterizing one type of Internet-behavior, which is called "pragmatists". Representatives of the cluster "pragmatists" behave in the virtual space quite different from "entertained". This type of Internet-behavior is characterized by a utilitarian use of global network as a means of raising the educational level, making money or implementation of professional interests. Most often, the representatives of this cluster use the Internet at home or at work to connect to a global network via a computer, sometimes - phone or tablet. These people are rarely interested in entertainment content and social networks; they are oriented on finding information they need for work, professional communication. Internet-behavior type "pragmatics" is characterized by consideration of a global network and TV as equally important sources of information and means of entertainment. However, the average rate of use of these media outlets is not more than 4 hours per day. Therefore, representatives of the analyzed cluster should be called people on the Internet, a moderate audience of the Internet and television. "Pragmatists" assess the political function of the Internet quite restrained. The representatives of this cluster do not focus on the active use of global network as a means of political participation.

The share of "pragmatists" among the number of respondents in our survey: Sweden - 49.5%, USA -f 40.2%, Switzerland - 39.8%, Great Britain - 27.3%, Uruguay - 24.0%, Poland - 23.3%, Cyprus - 18.1%, Chile - 12.4% Taiwan - 12.0%, South Africa - 4.9%, Russia - 4.4%, China - 3.5%, Mexico - 1.9%.

In an effort to characterize the features of the modern social actors’ behavior the attention should be paid to the fact that there are the 4.4 billion disconnected people in the whole world who are not able to use the Web at all, and another 1.8 billion people who are connected [13]. The Web and Rising Global Inequality. http://thewebindex.org/report/). Thus, «disconnected» people constitute about 70% of the population of our planet, and the «connected» - almost 30%. Surveys conducted in selected countries demonstrated that the specific number of disconnected people in them is less than in the whole world: South Africa - 65.9%, China - 55.7%, Cyprus - 38.4%, Chile - 37.4%, Taiwan - 37.0%, Poland - 35.5%, Mexico - 35.4%, Russia - 32.4%, Great Britain - 22.8%, Uruguay - 20.0%, Switzerland - 14.8%, USA - 14.3%, Sweden - 12.5%.

Comparative analysis of Internet-behavior types, conducted under the survey in these 13 countries, allows showing the relation of the clusters in the overall social structure of the nation (Table 1).

Countries "Innovators" "Traditionalists" "Entertained" "Pragmatists" «Disconnected»
Chile 9.6 27.8 12.8 12.4 37.4
China 18.1 5.3 17.3 3.5 55.7
Cyprus 12.3 13.0 18.2 18.1 38.4
Mexico 3.4 17.7 41.8 1.9 35.4
Poland 8.2 22.5 10.5 23.3 35.5
Russia 5.9 23.9 33.4 4.4 32.4
South Africa 6.3 14.9 8.0 4.9 65.9
Sweden 12.8 16.4 8.8 49.5 12.5
Switzerland 6.6 29.6 9.1 39.8 14.8
Taiwan 3.6 32.3 15.0 12.0 37.0
UK 14.6 21.7 13.5 27.3 22.8
Uruguay 10.7 22.3 23.0 24.0 20.0
USA 23.9 14.6 7.0 40.2 14.3

Table 1: Distribution of Internet-behavior types in selected member countries of the World Internet Project (%).

Representation on Internet-behavior typology in studied countries

The results allow giving the comparative characteristic of Internetbehavior features of studied population.

In Chile, the "traditionalists" is the dominant Internet-behavior type among the people on the Internet - 27.8%. Chileans are more active in the use of online social networks than others are: several times a day - 27.1%, on a daily basis - 30.8% (only in Mexico - 53.0%), on a weekly basis - 18.2% (only in Uruguay - 18.7%), do not use only 14.3% (the lowest rate). At the same time, men dominate among the people on the Internet with a small margin - 52.2%, but the youth age group of people on the Internet in Chile (up to 25 years old) takes the smallest portion among the surveyed countries - 5.4%.

Our study shows that the Internet has not become the main source of information for the Chileans. 72.2% of Chileans respondents said about the importance of TV information priority, and 50.3% - Internet information. «Disconnected» type in Chile is distinguished by the fact that it includes the largest number of those, who do not have a computer or access to the Internet - 54.5%.

According to the World Wide Web Foundation (2015) Chile occupies the highest place in the ranking among the countries participating in this study in term of the criterion of "freedom and openness" with the index 87.73. This is calculated based on assessments of the civil liberties level, including the right to information, expression of views, privacy and security on the Internet. However, research shows that Chile has a high percentage of those, who do not agree with the assertion that Internet makes it easier to understand the politicians’ actions - 21.7% (only in Switzerland - 22.8%) do not agree with that 27.5% of Chileans, and agree - 23.5%. Such skepticism, the causes of which will be discussed below, is typical even for European countries.

"Innovators" cluster is a dominant type of Internet-behavior in China - 18.1%, while the share of "entertained" type of people on the Internet is also significant - 17.3%. In our view, China's high representation of "innovators" in the structure of people on the Internet is associated with the perception of Internet communication as a social attribute of mobility and success in life, which determines the desire of Chinese people on the Internet to intensively use innovative possibilities of the World Wide Web. At the same time, attention is drawn to the fact that there is a large number of «disconnected» people in China - 55.0% (the first is South Africa). At the same time, 42.5% of respondents suggested inability as a reason for not using the Internet, 43.1% - lack of time and interest.

The largest gender disproportion between people on the Internet among the studied countries is also a characteristic feature of Chinese Internet audience, in which 64.1% are men. In China, the largest proportion of mature people on the Internet (25-60 years) - 73.8%, and the smallest proportion of older people (over 60 years) - 4.5%.

There are very few of those, who use online social networks in China: several times a day - 6.2% (only in Switzerland - 5.0%) on a daily basis - 9.0% (the lowest rate), never used online social networks - 52.3% (the highest rate). It is ironic that, in spite of this, Chinese respondents are more positively evaluating the role of the Internet in communicating with people with similar interests than others do. 53.8% of respondents believe that the global network extends the possibility of such communication. Obviously, these facts reflect the contrast of socio-cultural characteristics of the population, the smaller of which living in large cities is socializing in the information network community, while most of the population living in rural areas remains in preindustrialized time.

The survey results show that among of Chinese respondents, who completely or mostly agree that the Internet extends the possibilities for the realization of citizens’’ rights and freedoms - 51.8%, the lowest percentage of respondents, who completely disagree or disagree largely with this statement - 19.8%. Among the respondents, 61.7% of Chinese completely or mostly agree that the Internet extends the possibilities to influence the actions of the government (only in Uruguay - 82%). In China, we point the largest share of respondents, who completely or mostly agree that the Internet extends the possibilities for understanding the politicians’ actions - 60.9%. At first glance, it seems that such data undermine the stereotypes in the public opinion of Western countries. However, the behaviorist approach allows to explain it with subjective aspiration of advanced part of Chinese Internet audience for freedom, since according to the World Wide Web Foundation [13], China has the last line in the ranking among the member countries of our study in term of the criterion of "freedom and openness" with index 10.94.

"Entertained" and "pragmatists" clusters are dominant types of Internet-behaviors in the Republic of Cyprus. Shares of their clusters are approximately equal - 18.2% and 18.1%, respectively. Shares of "traditionalists" and "innovators" clusters are also approximately equal - 13.0% and 12.3%, respectively. 87.0% of Cypriots respondents said that the priority of Internet information is meaningful to them (the highest rate), while 55.2% trust it fifty-fifty. At the same time, there is a significant portion of «disconnected» respondents in Cyprus - 38.4% (the third after South Africa and China). Among them, there is the largest proportion of those, who do not know how to use the Internet - 45.9%.

The female part of the Cyprus Internet audience is slightly higher than the number of male part - 51.8%. Shares of people on the Internet age groups are roughly correspond to the average for studied countries. The number of young people is 20.7%, mature people - 64.4%, older - 14.9%.

The Cypriots are the most active online network members. 34.5% of respondents are using Social Media several times a day (the highest rate), and another 26.3% do so every day. However, the Cypriot respondents are very skeptical about the impact of a global network on interpersonal communication. 61.7% of respondents said that the Internet has no effect on the expansion communication of people with similar interests, 71.8% - on enhance communication of people with similar political interests, 80.9% - on enhance communication of people with similar religious interests (the highest rate), 59.7% - on the expansion of communication with the family, 40.5% - with friends, 44.7% - with colleagues. Cypriots’ Internet-behavior relatively distribution is reflected in a moderate attitude towards the possibilities of the Internet in political sphere. Proportion of respondents, who mostly agree or disagree, or are neutral to allegations that the Internet extends the possibilities for the realization of citizens’ rights and freedoms, for a better understanding of politicians, is fluctuating between 20% and 30%. However, the Cypriots’ attitude to the fact that the Internet extends the possibilities to influence the government or may force officials to pay more attention to public opinion is extremely negative. Accordingly, 45.4% and 60.9% of respondents completely or mostly disagree with this statement (the highest values). This negativity is caused by a reaction to the Greek government's inability to find a way out of the current economic crisis and to resolve the chronic problem of the political division of the island.

In Mexico, "entertained" cluster is dominant type of Internetbehavior - 41.8% (the highest rate among the studied countries), "traditionalists" occupy the second position with a twofold backlog - 17.3%. Perhaps this is due to a dramatic imbalance in the age structure of Internet audience. In Mexico, the largest proportion of young users - 37.8% and the lowest proportion of older - 4.4%. There are slightly more men among the Mexican people - 53.0%. «Disconnected» cluster amounts to 35.4% of the respondents, 28.1% of them do not know how to use the Internet, and 33.2% do not have the time or interest to do so.

80.5% of Mexican respondents suggest Internet information is significant (the second highest after Cyprus). 53.0% of Mexican people on the Internet have a daily visit on social networking sites (the highest rate). At the same time, 27.2% of Mexican respondents believe that the Internet really extends the capabilities of communicating of people with similar interests (the highest rate), and another 23.6% believe that the network extends such opportunities. 49.6% indicated that the Internet very or somewhat expands the communication possibilities with the family (second highest after the UK), 58.8% - ability to communicate with colleagues (the highest rate) and 68.0% - the possibility of communicating with friends (the second highest after the UK). Thus, despite the dominance of "entertained" cluster (obviously recreational content component is implemented primarily in communicating with friends) traditional family values and a pragmatic dialogue with colleagues largely determine the nature of Mexicans Internet-behavior. We also note that Mexico has a relatively high fifth place in the number of respondents, who stated that they completely or mostly agree that the Internet extends the possibilities for the realization of citizens’ rights and freedoms - 38.5%.

In Poland, the "pragmatists" and "traditionalists" types are predominant types of Internet-behavior. These clusters occupied 23.3% and 22.5% respectively. "Entertained" and "innovators" have a twofold backlog, their share is 10.5% and 8.2% respectively. It is very likely that the explanation for this should be the fact that the majority of Poles are devout Catholics. Internet distribution of behavior clusters are correlated with the age composition of the Polish Internet audience, in which the lion's share belongs to the middle-aged users, because the parts of the youth and the elderly do not differ significantly and constitute 15.8% and 13.6%, respectively. The female part of the audience is slightly higher than the male - 52.6%.

Polish «disconnected» people are distinguished by the fact that there is a large (greater only in UK) percentage of those, who do not use the Internet because they do not have time or interest for this activity - 66.7%. Among Poles, the largest proportion of those, for whom the priority of TV information is significant - 90.9%. These data reflect the conservatism of Polish society.

Poles inherent skepticism in assessing the social and political role of global network. Roughly, half of Polish respondents believe that the Internet has no effect on the empowerment of communication between different social groups. About a third of respondents are neutral to the capabilities of the Internet to influence political processes.

"Entertained" cluster is a dominant type of Internet-behavior in Russia - 33.4% (second after Mexico). "Pragmatics" cluster is 4.4% (second after China), "innovators" cluster - 5.9% (third after Mexico and Taiwan). The share of "traditionalists" occupies a middle position among the surveyed countries - 23.9%. Obviously, the priority features of the Russian mentality are neither pragmatism nor innovation. Russian Internet audience is different from the other by means of significant (9%) predominance of women - 54%. These data to a certain extent reflect gender specific of social activity in Russia. The relatively low percentage of people on the Internet over 63 years - 8.8% (the fourth after South Africa, China, and Mexico) is a characteristic feature of Russian audience. «Disconnected» cluster holds a stake of 32.4%. At the same time, 28.1% of Russian respondents said that their exclusion is due to the Internet ignorance, 39.5% - lack of time or interest, 24.6% - lack of computer access (second after the USA and Chile).

Internet has not become the determining factor of social communication in Russia. Internet information is a priority only for 57.8% of Russian respondents (second after Chile), and TV data priority was confirmed by 75.3% (second after Poland). The Russians are showing a relatively moderate activity on social networks. About two-thirds of Russian respondents believe that the Internet has no effect on the expansion of social communication opportunities with likeminded persons, family, friends and colleagues. 41.5% completely or mostly disagree with the fact that the Internet extends the impact on the government's actions (second after Cyprus), while 47.8% of respondents completely or mostly agree that the Internet extends the possibilities for the realization of citizens’ rights and freedoms (second after China). In our view, these data reflect the subjective aspirations of Russian respondents as it was in the case of China; as the World Wide Web Foundation appreciated the option of freedom and openness of the Internet in Russia only in 39.6 points (second from the bottom position among the surveyed countries). According to The Economist Intelligence Unit (2015), Russia and China complete the list of countries that we have studied in the ranking of 2015 Democracy Index 2015 Democracy in an age of anxiety (Russia - authoritarian rank 132 overall score 3.31 and China - authoritarian rank 132 overall score 3.31) [7].

The absolute dominance of "pragmatists" cluster is a characteristic feature of typological portrait of the Swedish Internet audience. This type of behavior is inherent in 49.5% of the respondents (the highest rate). "Traditionalists" occupy the second position with the index 16.4%. In Sweden, we have registered the lowest share of «disconnected» cluster - 12.5%. At the same time, 61.4% of them indicated the lack of time or interest as the cause of the networking absence (the highest rate). Sweden has uniform distribution of the audience in terms of gender (male - 50.6%, women - 49.4%). This reflects the principle of gender equality, which is firmly rooted in Swedish society. The age structure of people on the Internet in Sweden is most proportionate as well (17.4% - young people, 57.4% - people of ripe years, 25.0% - the elderly). Two-thirds of Swedes suggest the authenticity of Internet information to be fifty-fifty authentic.

Swedes have mostly skeptical attitude to the Internet opportunities as a means that allows expanding social contacts. 62.7% of respondents said that the Internet has no effect on communication of people, who share similar interests, 77.9% - people with similar political interests, 79.5% - with similar religious interests, 62.1% - with family, 47.8% - with friends, 31.5% - with colleagues. Overall, only the British people were seen more skeptical in this regard.

We see the same Swedes skepticism against the Internet political functions. 46.2% of respondents completely or mostly disagree with the fact that the Internet extends the possibilities for the realization of citizens’ rights and freedoms (only in Uruguay - 49.6% and Switzerland - 57.9%). 37.0% - completely or mostly disagree with the fact that the Internet extends the impact on the government (only in Switzerland - 61.0%).

Swiss type of Internet-behavior is largely similar to the Swedish. "Pragmatists" cluster dominates in Switzerland as well, although with a lower index - 39.8%, "traditionalists" occupy the second position, but with a higher rate - 29.6% (second after Taiwan). We note the same uniform distribution of people on the Internet in terms of gender, but with the overbalance of women - 50.2%, and hardly less uniform - in terms of age (13.4% - young people, 65.3% - people of ripe years, 21.3% - the elderly). Share of «disconnected» cluster is low and amounts to 14.8%, most of them do not have time and interest on the Internet - 46.0%. It is characteristic that in Switzerland the greatest number of respondents, who said they had never used online social networks, is 47.3%.

We have already illustrated the extremely negative attitude of Swiss to the allegations that the Internet extends the possibilities for the realization of citizens’ rights and freedoms, as well as to government influence. At the same time, we have paid attention to the facts that Swedenanks second after Chile's position in the ranking of World Wide Web Foundation [13] in terms of the parameter of freedom and openness among the countries, in which we conducted interviews, with the index 85.10, Switzerland with the index 81.27 - the third place. According to The Economist Intelligence Unit [16], Sweden is ahead of all of the studied countries in the ranking of Democracy Index 2015 Democracy in an age of anxiety (full democracy, rank 3 overall score 9.45), Switzerland follows it (full democracy, rank 6 overall score 9.09). Using the comparative and behaviorist approaches, we can conclude that the attitude toward the Internet as a means to expand democracy increases in countries with a high level of freedom and openness, that is a consequence of respondents’ critical thinking development.

"Traditionalists" cluster is a dominant type of Internet-behavior in Taiwan. Share of this cluster amounts to 32.3% (the highest rate among the studied countries). However, the proportion of "innovators" is one of the lowest - 3.6% (second after Mexico). Proportion of young people among Taiwanese people on the Internet is also the lowest - 3.6%, but there is a large proportion of elderly people - 37.0%. In this regard, we note the highlight the contrast of all parameters, which are specified above, with those that we have registered in China. Ratio of the "innovators" and "traditionalists", youth and the elderly in the states with the same ethnic group of the population is almost opposite, but the socio-economic and political systems are radically different. That pushes us to think about the decisive impact of these factors on Internet-behavior.

Share of «disconnected» cluster in Taiwan is big enough - 37.0%, but there are the smallest part of respondents, who do not have a computer or access to the Internet - only 2.6%. Strong traditionalist foundations of Taiwan respondents are also reflected in the fact that 76.9% of them believe that the Internet has no effect on the expansion of opportunities to communicate with friends, and 89.2% - to communicate with the family (the highest rate).

«Disconnected» people make up the largest proportion of respondents in South Africa - 65.9%. South Africa is on the last place of the list of Web Index World Wide Web Foundation (2015) in terms of Internet development level among the surveyed countries. It falls behind in terms of the parameters of rights and opportunities that include an assessment of social, economic and political indicators of state development in the context of Internet effects on them - only 31.89 points. "Traditionalists" cluster is the highest among the people on the Internet in this country, but with a relatively low rate - 14.9%. The largest proportion of young people (26.5%) is the hallmark of South Africa's Internet audience. Herein, the majority of people on the Internet have daily visits on online social networks - 51.7% (second after Mexico). A significant proportion of South African respondents believe that the Internet extends the possibilities of social communication of people with similar interests - 45.7%, 65% of surveyed residents said that the Web is expanding communication possibilities with family, friends and colleagues.

In the UK, "pragmatists" and "traditionalists" are the leading types of Internet-behavior. The share of these clusters is 27.3% and 21.7%, respectively. We note that the distribution of dominant types is characteristic of all studied European countries. Although, the UK gap between them is less than in Sweden and Switzerland, but it is higher than in Poland. A small gap between the "innovators" and "traditionalists" is a characteristic European feature as well, but the lowest gap is in the UK - 14.6% and 13.5%, respectively. Approximately uniform distribution of UK people on the Internet is in terms of gender (women - 52.0% male - 48.0%), relatively proportional distribution is in terms of age (14.7% - young people, 64.6% - people of ripe years, 20.7% - older) are similar to the typical features of other European Internet audiences. «Disconnected» cluster amounts to 22.8% of the respondents. Moreover, «disconnected» cluster has the highest proportion among the British of those, who have no time or interest on the Internet - 76.5%. We note that this factor is the main reason for the Internet exclusion for all studied European countries, except Cyprus. Interestingly, Internet information and TV information are equally important for the British. The percentage of respondent, for whom the priority of these information sources is significant, was 72.4% in both cases.

The skeptical attitude towards the Internet to expand the capabilities of social communication is typical for the British, as well as for other Europeans. However, the British skepticism is expressed most clearly in the area that Hogan [5] called "an area of important links". In the UK, 68.1% of respondents consider that the Internet has no effect on the empowerment of communication between people with similar interests, 80.6% - on the communication between people with similar political views, 80.4% - with religious views, 69.1% - with colleagues. However, 78.9% of those surveyed Britons said that the Internet has a big effect on the empowerment of communication with the family, and 83.2% - with friends. Thus, we note that the Internet assessment as an important means of communication, which Hogan [5] outlined as a zone of communicational "core", is a specific British feature.

Uruguay has the most uniform distribution of "pragmatists", "entertained", "traditionalists" and «disconnected» clusters - 24.0%, 23.0%, 22.3% and 20.0%, respectively. The share of "innovators" cluster is less than a half. Women make up a slight majority of people on the Internet - 52.9%. Shares of elderly and young people are almost equal - 17.8% and 16.7%, respectively. These indexes are close to the indexes of European countries and the United States. Half of Uruguay people on the Internet visit an online network daily or several times a day. The belief in the power of Internet to effect on the government action is characteristic of Uruguayans. 82.0% of respondents completely or mostly agree with this statement (the highest rate). 51.9% completely or mostly agree that the Internet makes officials to pay more attention to public opinion (second after China).

"Pragmatists" cluster is a dominant type of Internet-behavior in the United States - 40.2% (second after Sweden), but the "entertained" cluster is only 7.0% (the lowest rate). "Innovators" cluster took the second place - 23.9%, this is the highest rate among the studied countries. This Internet-behavior types ratio is unique and clearly reflects the American mentality, which combining utilitarianism and the pursuance of pioneering provide dynamic development of the country. Male part of the Internet audience predominance is a characteristic feature of the United States. The proportion of men among the people on the Internet is 54.1% (after South Africa and China). In the US, «disconnected» people make up one of the smaller clusters - 14.3% (second after Sweden). 41.2% of them noted the lack of a computer or Internet access as a cause of Internet exclusion (second after Chile). It is amazing for a country that occupies the sixth position in the world in terms of Internet development index according to the World Wide Web Foundation [13] research.

US respondents are close to Europeans in terms of the level of skeptical attitude to the possibilities of a global network in the field of social contacts expansion. More than two thirds of respondents said that the Internet has no effect on the expansion of opportunities to communicate with like-minded people, and about a half - with family, friends and colleagues. About a third of US respondents neutrally refer to the potential impact of the Internet on political processes. However, about the same number completely or largely agree that the Internet extends the possibilities for the realization of citizens’ rights and freedoms, as well as the effects on the government, but 38.1% completely or largely do not agree that the Internet makes officials to pay more attention to public opinion. The majority of Americans completely or largely agree that the Internet makes it easier to understand the politicians’ actions - 51.8% (second after Cyprus). Therefore, we note that the Web perception primarily as a means of political reflection is a characteristic feature of the US respondents’ Internet-behavior. We also draw attention to the fact that the survey data, which are shown above, reveal some differences between the behaviorist and statistical approaches. This is illustrated by the World Wide Web Foundation statistics [13], which, in particular, shows that the UK and the USA are in the lead in terms of social, political, and economic indicators of the state under their impact on the Internet - 98.81 and 100.00 points respectively [17].

The scientific validity and reliability of research results are provided by improved methods of comparative analysis of statistical data, which were obtained in the course of large-scale public opinion polls.

The results of our study insert a significant array of crossnational empirical data into scientific circulation, which allowed conducting a general Internet-behavior typology, showing its characteristics and dependence in different countries. This greatly enhanced the scientists’ researches in Europe, Latin America, and Asia (Godoy 2016) that carried out a factor analysis of Internet communications formation in national systems of various types.

Conclusion

A comprehensive study has allowed presenting people on the Internet of 13 countries in a structured fashion in terms of Internetbehavior types: "innovators", "traditionalists", "entertained", "pragmatics" and "disconnected", identifying the proportions of these social clusters in the state population -f object of the study.

European countries are characterized by a distribution model of Internet-behavior types, in which the "pragmatists" social cluster is on the first position, "traditionalists" - the second, "innovators" - the third (only Cyprus is slightly different). Distribution of the audience in terms of gender is almost equal, in terms of is relatively proportional - those are the features of Europe. These ratios reflect the specifics of such a European mentality as a combination of prudence, conservatism, initiative and democracy embodied in the socio-economic and political system of the EU. Unlike in Europe, Russia, and especially Mexico, "entertained" people occupy the first position, while the share of "pragmatists" and "innovators" is minimal. On the contrary, Americans are different from Europeans in terms of predominance of "innovators" over the "traditionalists". This feature is historically conditioned and is the key to well-known American dynamism. It is significant that "innovators’" dominance among the people on the Internet is characteristic for China as the leader of world economic growth. Innovation inherent for Chinese respondents is reflected in very low shares of "traditionalists" and "pragmatists" clusters. That radically distinguishes them from the ethnic Chinese in Taiwan including the record share of "traditionalists" - almost a third. China and Taiwan have the opposite age imbalances of people on the Internet. In addition, there is almost a double prevalence of men and a very high proportion of «disconnected» people as characteristic features of China. These examples show that the impact of socio-economic and political systems on the Internetbehavior specifics is crucial.

Respondents in the countries with high level of freedom and openness are skeptical about the possibilities of the Internet to effect on the social and political communication. At the same time, respondents in the countries that lag behind in these parameters were significantly more optimistic about the Internet potential to enhance their social and political opportunities. Following the behaviorist approach, this paradox is explained by a high level of respondents’ critical thinking in democratic countries and inflated level of expectations that respondents from authoritarian countries confer on the Internet as a window to the world of freedom.

Summarizing the results of the research, we note that the scale and intensity of Internet communication is most associated with institutional and technological factors that determine the ICT development level, Internet content maintenance mainly determined by socio-economic, socio-cultural and sociodemographic factors. Conducted cross-national comparative analysis shows that this effect is mutual.

Acknowledgements

Research was supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of Russian Federation, the state task "Identification of regularities of interrelation of political systems development and Internet communication" (2014-2016, the state task № 2816).

References