|dc.description||The more people use the Internet, the bigger are the needs they expect to be fulfilled by
the use of it. Consequently, the bigger is also people’s need for personal life services and
for information they hope to obtain over the Internet.
The present research is about the Internet use for personal life services. The title of my
thesis is “The Internet as a provider of personal life services – users’ point of view”. The
purpose of my research was to find out how people use the Internet for their personal life
issues and what kind of services and information they mainly look for in the Internet.
There are not many studies about the Internet use in Estonia carried out yet. For our
thesis we, a group of 4 students, conducted qualitative interviews with 16 people. An
interview consisted of different parts and questions compiled according to the purposes of
our studies. The interviewees were the same people who participated in the previous
national research about using different media (known as Meema) that was carried out by
the Department of Journalism and Communication of Tartu University in the years 2002-
From the previous Meema research and from the present study 8 main topics describing
the use of the Internet for personal life purposes appeared. These main topics include:
travel, real estate, job, health and administrative information, meeting new people,
information about the hobbies and using the services of e-banking, e-tax office and e-
It was interesting to compare the changes in the Internet use of the people for private life
purposes from the year 2003 (Meema research) till now, the year 2005 (current study).
The biggest difference was in using e-commerce services. While in 2003, the majority of
our interviewees wrote that they did not use the Internet for shopping purposes at all, 2
years later most of them talked about their experiences in e-commerce. The next biggest
change was in looking for a job via the Internet, which is also more popular now.
Changes in the use of other services were not so remarkable.
The research shows that using the Internet for personal life issues depends on people’s
current period of life and certain needs at this period. If they need some kind of private
life information or services, the Internet is a very convenient and fast resource to fulfil
these needs and save time.
Different transactions via the Internet are not so popular yet. The exceptions here are the
use of e-bank and e-tax office services, which are very popular. However, people still use
the Internet mainly for gathering different kind of information and getting an overview of
a certain topic or question. Thus, in the Internet there are not only goods and services
available, but also a lot of ideas and in this way the Internet helps people make their