News for Digital Journalists

January 21, 2011

Internet breeds engagement, not isolation, says Pew

New research from Pew contradicts the tired fallacy that the internet fosters social isolation. This week, the Pew Internet and American Life Project published The Social Side of the Internet—a report which indicates that the internet has become a key part of how civic, social, advocacy, and religious groups and organizations function and flourish today…

Among the study’s key findings:

  • 80% of US internet users participate in groups (including volunteering, fundraising, civic engagement, campaigning, events, and more)—compared to just 56% of non-internet users.
  • Social media users are especially likely to be active in groups. 82% of US social network users and 85% of Twitter users report participating in groups.

Given that groups often have considerable reach and influence, it makes sense for news organizations to actively engage local or relevant groups, especially via social media. The online activities of groups are now a key channel for news, information, communication, and engagement for most Americans. It makes sense to build bridges with these channels in order to reach wider audiences and listen more effectively to community issues and concerns.

More on this study from The Atlantic


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