A national mail survey of 683 randomly selected US family physicians was conducted using diffusion of innovations theory to assess Internet use perceptions and identify sources from which physicians obtained medical information. Continuing medical education (CME), medical journals and professional colleagues were the top three sources of medical information. Internet use diffused through five starting points and three paths. They are 1) assessing the professional association website as helpful, 2) taking a CME course on Internet navigation or participating in an Internet demonstration, 3) having a teaching hospital affiliation, 4) a lower patient load and 5) recent professional training (within the past 10 years). From here the three pathways included observing its benefits, utilization compatibility and ease, and getting useful information. Continuing medical education with an emphasis on demonstration constitutes the optimal means for socializing family physicians to learn how to navigate the Internet.