Trivia

Hard

In Sociology, Extremely Late Adopters Of Technology Are Referred To As?

Zeta Adopters
Laggards
Luddites
Resisters
An old Ericsson T39m flip phone.
Terje Norli/The Norwegian Telecom Museum

Answer: Laggards

Starting in the 1920s, sociologists began studying what they call the “diffusion of innovations” throughout societies. In other words, how quickly a product, idea, or behavior is taken up by a given society. Within this model, some people adopt an idea quickly (such as a new musical style taking off in urban centers), others adopt it more slowly, and some people never adopt it at all.

The groups within a given culture are defined by the following terms and behaviors. Innovators are the first to test an idea or product, the people at the very edge of the new thing. Early adopters are the first people from the general population to jump on a new idea or product—the people who bought smartphones, for example, long before smartphones were a commonplace thing. The Early Majority follows early adopters and their acceptance of a thing indicates that it has gained mainstream appeal (like when having a smartphone went from the province of IT workers and geeks to most people). They are in turn followed by the Late Majority, the people to whom you might say, “Wow, you finally got a smartphone!”

Finally, there’s the last group in the “diffusion of innovations” spectrum, the not-so-kindly-named Laggards. They’re the most resistant of all the groups and either wait until an idea or product has become so commonplace that it’s difficult to avoid adopting it or they refuse to adopt it at all. People in this group might say “I only upgraded to this stupid smartphone because my flip phone died and my phone service provider doesn’t even sell flip phones any more.”

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