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Pew Report Finds Internet Users More Socially Engaged
People who use the Internet are more likely to actively participate in group social activities compared to non-internet users, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project entitled “The Social Side of the Internet.”
According to the report 75% of Americans are actively taking part in some type of voluntary group. Looking only at Web users this number rises to 80% compared with 56% of non-Internet users. The survey found that Internet has great impact on people’s engagement with civic, social and religious groups.
People believe the Internet has helped make voluntary groups better organized and therefore more effective. Over 60% of Internet users said that the Internet has a major impact on the ability of groups to communicate with their members, to bring attention to issues, and to connect with other groups. Around 64% of web users are of the opinion that Internet has a strong impact on the ability of groups to impact society at large. The similar percentage of people said that ability to organize group activities is highly impacted by the net. The percentage goes down when it comes to the Internet’s impact on the ability of groups to raise money, recruit new members, and find people to take leadership roles.
According to Pew, social media users are taking the lead among population of Inetrnet users when it comes to engagement with social organizations, with 82% of social network users and 85% of Twitter users participating in groups. Social media platforms are widely used by groups and their members as tools for interaction and information sharing. 48% of surveyed people that are active members of groups said that those groups have a page on a social networking site like Facebook.
Some 65% of social network users say they read messages and updates on social sites about groups in which they are active, and 30% say they have posted news about their groups. The percentages are similar among Twitter users, with 63% following group updates and 21% posting news about their group. Social media users are more likely than other group participants who go online for group activities, to say that the internet has a “major impact” on their ability to engage with their groups.
Blogs are also very common tools that groups use to communicate with their members and spread their message. The Pew’s report shows that 30% of those who are active in groups say those groups have their own blog.
According to the report, Internet users are not only more active in social groups but are also more likely to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment about their contributions.