Oops: Most Americans Say 'The Cloud' Refers to Weather
BY Maeghan Ouimet
The tech industry is notorious for generating head-scratching buzzwords. But this one has even tech-savvy Millennials confused.
Mention "the cloud" to most Americans, and you just might send them off in search of a weather report.
A recent survey intended to gauge how people feel about cloud computing revealed that they like it--even though they have little idea what it is.
In August, Wakefield Research surveyed 1,000 adults, most of whom were Millennials--presumably one of most tech-savvy generations. Sixty-eight percent of respondents believe that the cloud offers some economic benefit, such as helping consumers spend less and boosting engagement between customers and businesses.
But the rest of the survey responses suggest they don't even understand the buzzword: Twenty-two percent admitted to lying (mostly in the workplace) about knowing what the cloud was and over half of those surveyed (51%) believe that stormy weather interferes with the cloud. Nearly 95% of the respondents said they don’t use the cloud, but most of them do--and quite often. Services like Google Docs, Facebook, Twitter, online banking accounts, e-commerce, and Spotify all rely on the cloud.
“This survey clearly shows that the cloud phenomenon is taking root in our mainstream culture, yet there is still a wide gap between the perceptions and realities of cloud computing,” Kim DeCarlis, vice president of corporate marketing at Citrix, said in a press release. “While significant market changes like this take time, the transition from the PC era to the cloud era is happening at a remarkable pace.”
A tech lesson might be in order: The best (and most off-base) descriptions of the cloud in the survey included heaven, drugs, toilet paper, and smoke.
MAEGHAN OUIMET is a business and culture reporter whose work has appeared in Boston Magazine and Rolling Stone. She covers technology start-ups and innovations from the San Francisco bureau for Inc.com. @MaeghanO