Last week we posted updates to three of the Latest Trends tables on our website. Data from the most recent Pew Internet Project Tracking survey (fielded between February and March 2005) has been added to the following tables:

Among the more notable changes reflected in these updates, the percentage of adult internet users who say they take part in chat rooms or online discussions with other people has declined significantly from the last time we measured this activity. While 25% of adult internet users reported using chat rooms in our June-July 2002 survey, just 17% said they engage in these online discussions in our latest February-March 2005 survey. The high-water mark for chat room usage was 28% in our March 2000 survey.

We first reported some cooling off in chat room usage in our “America’s Online Pursuits” report, but these latest findings suggest a more substantial downward trend. On the whole, internet users continue to be twice as likely to use instant messaging as they are to log on to chat rooms, and they are three times as likely to use instant messaging on the average day.

For further discussion of demographic trends for this activity, please refer to the “America’s Online Pursuits” report here.