Skip to navigationSkip to content
Bill Gates
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
He probably knows what it means.
TEST YOURSELF

Everybody knows who Bill Gates is, but nobody knows what WWW means

Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Do you know who this man is? Chances are you do. A new study by the Pew Research Center shows that 83% of Americans could identify Bill Gates in a photograph. On the other hand, fewer than a quarter of the people surveyed knew that there was a difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web. About the same proportion knew who Facebook COO and “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg was.

There were some other interesting stats that show Americans’ familiarity with the Internet. As Pew points out, fewer than a fifth of Americans are on Twitter, but nearly two-thirds of those they surveyed knew a tweet can only be 140 characters long. Similarly, 61% of those surveyed knew what “net neutrality” was, which is impressive, seeing as our elected officials still seem to be debating what it means.

Pew put some of its survey questions online, so you can test your Internet knowledge against the average American.

No age group managed to ace the 17-question survey, although the 18-29 group came closest, with 10 correct answers on average. Pew did ask what the first popular web browser was, which seems a bit unfair on the younger quiz takers, seeing as many of them wouldn’t have been alive when it launched.

Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.