The American Diet: 34 Gigabytes a Day [Bits Blog]
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have attempted to quantify the amount of data the average person receives each day from various sources including the Internet, television, movies, books and over the phone, arriving at a fairly astounding number. Their estimate - 34 gigabytes of data is received by the average American each 24 hour period. Of course, not all that data is digital information that is contained in computer bits. The scientists determined the equivalent measure for each medium in terms of bytes consumed, arriving at 34 gigabytes. According to Bits, that's around 100,000 words of content that the average American encounters in a day.
The lion's share of data is television viewing, which would account for nearly 45 percent of all the data traffic consumed. The web comes in second consisting of almost 27 percent of Americans' data appetite. Other categories include radio, printed media, computer games, movies and recorded music.
Since 1980, the researchers estimate that Americans' data consumption has risen 6 percent each year. Over that time span, the amount of daily data consumed has increased 350 percent. For a yardstick of how large that daily stream is, compared to the hard drive in my current computer, 34 gigabytes a day would fill the drive up in about 5 days.