51 percent of Americans believe stormy weather can interfere with cloud computing

While “the cloud” may be the tech buzzword of the year, many Americans remain foggy about what the cloud really is and how it works. A new national survey by Wakefield Research, commissioned by Citrix, showed that most respondents believe the cloud is related to weather, while some referred to pillows, drugs and toilet paper. Those in the know claim working from home in their “birthday suit” is the cloud’s greatest advantage. The good news is that even those that don’t know exactly what the cloud is recognize its economic benefits and think the cloud is a catalyst for small business growth.

The survey of more than 1,000 American adults was conducted in August 2012 by Wakefield Research and shows that while the cloud is widely used, it is still misunderstood. For example, 51 percent of respondents, including a majority of Millennials, believe stormy weather can interfere with cloud computing. Nearly one third see the cloud as a thing of the future, yet 97 percent are actually using cloud services today via online shopping, banking, social networking and file sharing. Despite this confusion, three in five (59 percent) believe the “workplace of the future” will exist entirely in the cloud, which indicates people feel it’s time to figure out the cloud or risk being left behind in their professional lives.

These survey responses show there is a significant disconnect between what Americans know, what they pretend to know, and what they actually do when it comes to cloud computing. Among the key findings:

• People feign knowledge about the cloud: One in five Americans (22 percent) admit that they’ve pretended to know what the cloud is or how it works. Some of the false claims take place during work hours, with one third of these respondents faking an understanding of the cloud in the office and another 14 percent doing so during a job interview. Interestingly, an additional 17 percent have pretended to know what the cloud was during a first date. Younger Americans are most likely to pretend to know what the cloud is and how it works (36 percent ages 18-29, 18% ages 30 and older), as are Americans in the West (28 percent West, 22 percent U.S.)

• You’re not alone: While many admit they don’t understand the cloud, 56 percent of respondents say they think other people refer to cloud computing in conversation when they really don’t know what they are talking about.

• What is it, anyway? When asked what “the cloud” is, a majority responded it’s either an actual cloud (specifically a “fluffy white thing”), the sky or something related to the weather (29 percent). Only 16 percent said they think of a computer network to store, access and share data from Internet-connected devices. Some of the other verbatim responses include:Toilet paper, pillow, smoke, outerspace, cyberspace, mysterious network, unreliable, security, sadness, relaxed, overused, oh goody a hacker’s dream, storage, movies, money, memory, back-up, joy, innovation, drugs, heaven and a place to meet.

• Many use it, few understand it: A majority of Americans (54 percent) claim to never use cloud computing. However, 95 percent of this group actually does use the cloud. Specifically, 65 percent bank online, 63 percent shop online, 58 percent use social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, 45 percent have played online games, 29 percent store photos online, 22 percent store music or videos online, and 19 percent use online file-sharing. All of these services are cloud based. Even when people don’t think they’re using the cloud, they really are.

• Can the cloud save the economy? Even though many Americans don’t know exactly what the cloud does, they see its silver lining. Most Americans (68 percent) recognize the economic benefits after learning more about the cloud. The most recognized benefits are that the cloud helps consumers by lowering costs (35 percent), spurs small business growth (32 percent) and boosts customer engagement for businesses (35 percent). Millennials are most likely to believe that the cloud generates jobs (26 percent Millennials, 19 percent Boomers).

• Softer advantages, like working from home in the buff: People offered additional, unexpected benefits of the cloud, including the ability to access work information from home in their “birthday suit” (40 percent); tanning on the beach and accessing computer files at the same time (33 percent); keeping embarrassing videos off of their personal hard drive (25 percent); and sharing information with people they’d rather not interact with in person (35 percent).

• Concerns include cost, security, privacy: Despite these advantages, Americans still have reasons why they limit their use of cloud computing or avoid it entirely. Among those who hardly ever or never use the cloud, the top three deterrents are cost (34 percent), security concerns (32 percent) and privacy concerns (31 percent).

“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,” said Kim DeCarlis, vice president of corporate marketing at Citrix, in a statement. “While significant market changes like this take time, the transition from the PC era to the cloud era is happening at a remarkable pace. The most important takeaway from this survey is that the cloud is viewed favorably by the majority of Americans, and when people learn more about the cloud they understand it can vastly improve the balance between their work and personal lives.”

Methodological Notes:
The Citrix Cloud Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,006 nationally representative American adults ages 18 and older, between Aug. 2-7, 2012, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult population 18 and older.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.
Complete survey results and graphics are available.

Source: Citrix Systems, Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Yikes.

Now we know what we suspected, the following commercial flies over so many heads because most people are morbidly vapid twits who know close to nothing beyond when the next episode of The Fscking Kardasians airs.

The need is so great, and growing by leaps and bounds (thanks, NEA), that we’re seriously thinking of going into the drool cup biz.

We’d love to be able to – just once, and only because we’ve been blessed with natural curiosity (obviously a relatively rare thing) – experience this commercial from the point of view of someone who thinks stormy weather can interfere with cloud computing.

What do you think the ignorati are seeing or thinking they’re seeing when they watch this spot, if anything?


  1. There’s no debate. They polled the Kardashians on this ‘cloud’ thing. I’m surprised they got 49% of the answers right. I would have thought that the Kardashians thought that ‘cloud’ was some kind of rear end lift, like a fart.

    Kim Kardashian is a cancer to society.

    1. … and bootielisous Kardashian twits! MORE than enough about the lyig NoPublicans and the ineffective Democrats. Someone please take “2010” out in the woods and put a bullet in his empty skull.
      The “cloud” name comes from the symbol used for the Internet on networking diagrams. ownCloud is more like NAS – or is it SAN? – than “cloud” … a minor quibbling of terms.

    2. … stormy weather CAN interfere with your use of The Cloud! But only if your connectivity would be damaged. Like, your 9600 baud modem? If you are using broadband, chances are good the weather won’t have much of an impact.
      Then along comes the daughter of Katrina! ;-(

  2. Now I know how a community organizer with no practical experience in pretty much anything outside of reading off a teleprompter got elected President of The United States of America.

    This poor woman definitely thinks stormy weather can disrupt cloud computing:

    Black unemployment was at 11.2% in 2008 when Obama was elected. It was 15.2% in November of 2009; 15.2% in Nov. 2010; 15.3% in Nov. 2011 and 15.0% in July 2012.

    The figures above do not include black underemployment.

    1. No one gives a shit on this site about your political views.

      I’m in the UK, why the fsck do I want to hear your bleating about US politics? Do you see me coming on here and telling you what an awful job the Coalition Government are doing here in the UK? No you do not. Do you know why? Because 99% of people who post on here want to forget about politics and discuss technology.

      Get a fscking life. Seriously.

      1. This is an American poll. It is about the U.S.A. The current president stupidly thinks big government can solve everything. He got elected president despite having less experience than the then-GOP VP nominee, Sarah Palin. All I’m saying is that it’s a good thing for Obama and his golf game that there are so many stupid Americans.

            1. There we have it folks, we have now proven that both Republicans and Democrats are idiots.

              Now “to the cloud”: if companies want people to understand what they are selling (it seems most companies do not), then they wouldn’t corrupt the dictionary by changing the meaning of commonly-understood words.

              In this case, “remote computer server service” has been replaced by a poor word choice. Probably because the marketeers at MS and AAPL can’t spell such a long phrase and couldn’t come up with a cute enough acronym. Apple is just as bad as Microsoft, which offers a “world without walls”, but expects everyone without a wall to buy Windows — perhaps to use as an awning to protect themselves from the “cloud”?

            2. I’m pretty sure the term “cloud” was merely adopted by companies. Pretty sure it was created by some hipster with horn rims and ironic facial hair

            3. “The cloud” has been in use since the late 1980s when data were passed from one location to another through many different nodes. One packet might have been routed from SF to LA via Reno, Vegas, San Bernardino, while the next packet might be routed through San Jose, Bakersfield, SLO, Chatsworth. This method of data transmission turned out to be more efficient economically and in speed when compared to the switched technology of voice calls, where your call from SF to LA was set up and routed on a fixed (switched) link that didn’t vary for that particular call. It was referred to as the cloud as at any one moment you couldn’t tell what the route was (Yes, I know that techs and engineers could monitor routes but for everyday use, it didn’t matter).

              HTH! 🙂

          1. If you fail to elect competent people, your life won’t have much more than unnecessary pain.

            Four years ago, I told you people on this site that we were going to waste four years here in the U.S. and that’s exactly what has happened. Plus $5 trillion in debt and a total nightmare of a “healthcare” law that has to be repealed and replaced!

            ChrissyOne told me four years ago that McCain would die in office. I saw John last night. He’s healthier than that old blow user and cigarette-sneaker Obama. She called Palin “dumb.” Yet, there Joe Biden sits. Please everyone: wake up!

            Okay, bye! I have a convention to attend!

        1. This is an American site. This is an American poll. This is why so much of the commentary is the same sad distortions and half truths from people who swallow RNC bullshit talking points hook, line and sinker.

            1. Under G.W. Bush, tax breaks and lax regulations led to skyrocketing deficits and an economic collapse, while at the same time dramatically increasing poverty and inequality. A bellicose foreign policy led to two hugely costly wars, left unfinished. Romney’s policies are the same as Bush. OBAMA 2012

        2. Bla bla bla…American, bla bla bla……

          It is a miracle that the other 49 percent of Americans did NOT believe a storm can disrupt the cloud.

          51 percent not knowing something in the US is a Goddamn miracle by any standards because I do not believe most would have guessed 49 percent has a clue, period!

      2. Rasta – First 2010 is a known troll. He and his type are paid by the post to spam boards of every description with their political garbage. Always vitriolic; always insulting; always republican. It’s best just to ignore him and his friends and not rise to the bait.

        1. Yeah, and it says volumes about this site that he hasn’t been banned and his posted deleted, doesn’t it? Seems certain kinds of off-topic comments are perfectly a-ok.


    2. Since when has minority (black and Hispanic) unemployment EVER been equal to or lower than that of white people; never. Unemployment for minorities has always been much higher than that of white people. What a 3 dollar bill (phony) argument. In 2008 the US economy lost approximately 4.3 million jobs under the Bush administration and continued to shed jobs into the Obama administration: unemployment inherited from Bush.

      1. Yup, it’s all the other guy’s fault. No responsibility for the man from nowhere ever. That is an infantile argument.

        Fact: The Dems failed again. The only time they’ve ever had recent economic success (Clinton) was when they were hit with a GOP landslide revolution and were forced to sign off on GOP ideas in order to set themselves up for reelection.

            1. When Obama completed his first month in office, unemployment was at about 8.3%. Obama didn’t inherit a stable high unemployment of 8.3%, rather a rapidly rising unemployment rate that was rising for 8 months from 5% before Obama took office and continued rising into the Obama administration.

              That said; please point out at what point Bush stabilized the job loss to no loss or even job gains before Bush left office. Again, the US lost about 4.3 million jobs in 2008 alone, Bush’s last year in office. This has also not probably been seen since the great depression.

    3. Black unemployment and stormy weather and cloud computing. Yeah I see the connection…not!

      Why do you feel the urge to prove to the world that you are a total asshole?

      Mac users hate you and any self respecting Republican probably shuns you like that Akins disease.

    4. Why are you bringing in your political garbage? No one cares what you think and plastering your self-justified videos doesn’t mean anything but to yourself.

      Americans can think for themselves and they will vote how they see fit. However, we don’t need people supporting hateful or extreme views that are trying to divide a country. Your bias is obvious and pathetic, it is good for nothing.

      This article is about CLOUD COMPUTING! Take your propaganda somewhere else and seek some form of help.

  3. If you are using a satellite system for your Internet connection the weather most definitely CAN interfere with your “cloud” connection and therefore any use of your “cloud computing”.

  4. 71% of Americans believe in some deity in the sky that takes care of them.

    Approximately the same number believe in ghosts.

    Some god awful number like 30%+ believe the moon landings were faked. Even people like Adam Curry.

    Speaking of that, most school children don’t know we landed men on the moon 6 times. They think it happened once.

    By the way, a big storm did take out Amazon cloud services, interfering with many of its constituent services like NetFlix, so maybe American’s aren’t so dumb?

    1. TM,

      The two greatest, non scientific arguments against the moon landings having been faked (the scientific arguments go over most people’s heads) are:

      1. If we faked them during the height of the U.S. – Soviet space race, wouldn’t the Soviets have spent anything and done anything possible to expose the fake to the rest of the world? Wouldn’t the Soviets have proven to the world that they were fake?

      2. If the moon landings were faked, then during the nationalistic resurgence during the mid to late 1980s — and continued, even heightened cold war stance during that period — why did the U.S. not fake a Mars landing? If the U.S. Government had gotten away with it once, why not do it again?

      I’ve personally met a few of the moon walkers and actually worked with a couple well after their returns. You only have to spend a few hours with any of them to be 100% sure the moon landings were not faked.

  5. “the cloud” is a meaningless marketing term. Cloud computing is crap and mostly the result of below-shit level of telecommunications services, particularly in the United States. So buying a book online is using the cloud? Who knew? Apparently to the poll conductor, any time you use the Internet you are using “the cloud.” how about just calling it the Internet?

    “the cloud” is garbage for consumers. It makes some sense for large businesses that can benefit from flexible server and storage space, and also for some small businesses that get the benefit of services that they would have difficulty administrating themselves. For everyone else, the cloud basically it is taking your data and putting over the fense between you and your telecom provider for no good reason other than the slow upload speeds, dynamic ip, and limitations on services your provider puts between you and the Internet.

    A used p4 pc running Linux can offer all the storage, streaming, web hosting etc services most people would need for a total investment of less than $100 if it wasn’t stuck on the moated ghetto side of Internet, otherwise known as the home.

  6. Heavy windstorm causes trees to fall over. Fallen trees can take down power lines and cables. If someone is in the process of uploading data to the cloud for processing, and it is interrupted by such a falling tree, then I would consider stormy weather to have interfered with their cloud computing.

    Now someone account for the 49% that think this is impossible.

  7. And while we’re at it, the whole “cloud” name is just stupid. It’s as if someone sat down and tried to think up the most dumb name for net services they could. I know where the name comes from but most people don’t look at network diagrams or old telco diagrams. You say cloud, guess what, they think “cloud.”

  8. None of this should be surprising. The US celebrates ignorance. They deny common scientific facts. They despise expertise. They denigrate education. They glorify superstition and reject facts and data. A good chunk of the US electrorate believe the Earth is 6000 years old, science is a big lie to piss off gods, and that all their economic problems began on Jan 1st 2009.

    How would the average person be expected to have the first clue about technology when they knowingly elect politicians that tell them lies about women’s bodies, spend billions on big government while pretending they are all about small government, and can’t even keep recent history straight in their minds?

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