Virtual Civic Glue?
OFFLINE JOINERS, BY TECHNOLOGY USE
Pew Internet & American Life Project
74% of Americans belong to at least one local civic group like a community group, sports league, youth or religious group or a social club.
28.3% of Internet users belong to a community group.
That compares to 22.3% of offline people who do.
22.1% of Internet users belong to a sports league.
That compares to 9.5% of offline people who do.
23.6% of Internet users belong to a youth group.
That compares to 13.7% of offline people who do.
54.1% of Internet users belong to a religious group.
That compares to 56.5% of offline people who do.
40.9% of Internet users belong to a social club.
That compares to 27.2% of offline people who do.
THOUGHT: There is a stereotype of the isolated, anti-social Internet addict that perpetuates the myth that online technologies are inherently isolating and keep people from interacting with others face-to-face.
According to Pew research, however, with the exception of religious groups, the opposite is true.
The same pattern holds true for cell phone users, social media users, and mobile Internet users: If you are one of these, you will be more likely to participate on of the aforementioned civic groups than those who are not online.
And it stands to reason. Social media users are more likely to find out about civic groups through the status updates and feeds of the people to whom they are connected online. They’re more likely to be invited to participate in civic activities simply by virtue of being connected.
Cell phone users are more likely to answer ad hoc calls related to civic activities, as are mobile Internet users more able to get email and texts related to such activities.
Finally, the everyday tools of civic organizing are now more likely to be email and text updates and Facebook invites than an old school phone call.
People who are connected through online technologies simply have many more civic opportunities presented to them.
MINNESOTA MONDAY: Giving Up For Good by The Arms Akimbo.
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