Do you know anyone who doesn't use the Internet?
In the past decade, we've seen the invention and increasing popularity of mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and e-readers; the explosive growth of social networking sites like Facebook, which are now used by 72 percent of Internet users in the U.S.; and the more recent introduction of newer services that combine these mobile and social trends in various permutations, such as Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, and Snapchat.
As we watch the rise, fall and evolution of countless online services and digital technologies, it's easy to assume that everyone is online. But a small and persistent swath of Americans remain offline—15 percent of adults ages 18 and older, as of May—and in most cases were never online to begin with.
This is especially relevant considering the types of content and services increasingly available only online, some targeted at the kinds of populations who are offline. Many government services, forms and information are increasingly moving online. And digital skills are often required to apply for jobs that themselves don't involve technology, in the form of requiring applicants to fill out online applications and file digital resumes to websites. In addition, the basic insights that drive commercial and civic decisions are being derived from online polls and various "big data" projects that take account of the views and activities only of those who use the Internet. That makes offline adults effectively invisible.
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