The Social Side of the Internet: Pew

Posted in: Research at 19/01/2011 17:20


The internet is now deeply embedded in group and organizational life in America. A new national survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project has found that 75% of all American adults are active in some kind of voluntary group or organization and internet users are more likely than others to be active: 80% of internet users participate in groups, compared with 56% of non-internet users. Moreover, social media users are even more likely to be active: 82% of social network users and 85% of Twitter users are group participants.

"One of the striking things in these data is how purposeful people are as they become active with groups," noted Kristen Purcell, the research director at Pew Internet and co-author of the report. "Many enjoy the social dimensions of involvement, but what they really want is to have impact. Most have felt proud of a group they belong to in the past year and just under half say they accomplished something they couldn't have accomplished on their own."

"It is important to note that 25% of American adults are not active in any of the groups we addressed," Aaron Smith, senior research specialist at Pew Internet and co-author of the report. "They often report they are time-stressed or have health or other issues that limit their ability to be involved. And about a fifth of them say that lack of access to the internet is a hindrance. Even in its absence, the internet seems to be a factor in the reality of how groups perform in the digital age."

About the Survey

This report is based on the findings of a survey on Americans' use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from November 23 to December 21, 2010, among a sample of 2,303 adults, age 18 and older. Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,555) and cell phone (748, including 310 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. For more information, please see the Methodology section of this report.

To download the report in full, see:

For media coverage of the report, see:

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