While politicians love to cite percentage of Internet users as a meaningful metric for Internet development, this may not be the case. In this example from late 2011 in Armenia, we use that the sociodemographic differences between those that do not know what the Internet is, those who never use the Internet, and those that use the Internet daily are stark.
Moreover, there are tremendous differences between what daily Internet users are doing online and what those that infrequently access are doing.
Capital-enhancing activities like reading blogs, reading news, or searching for information are much more likely when the user is online daily.
So what are these weekly and monthly Internet users doing? NOT MUCH.
Thus, be skeptical when you read or hear about X% of people in a country are online. That may include the old man who got online at an Internet cafe once 4 years ago. It might include the woman who only uses the Internet when her son opens Skype for her on a holiday to speak with distant family.
These individuals are not experiencing the benefits of the Internet that the daily users are. And given that those with daily access tend to be those already advantaged in Armenian society, the Internet may contribute to greater inequality as those with resources continue to gain access to more resources: a Matthew Effect.