Posting in Cities
Attention all of those working on Smart Cities initiatives: When it comes to civic government, many have hoped that online access to resources would i...
Attention all of those working on Smart Cities initiatives: When it comes to civic government, many have hoped that online access to resources would increase involvement regardless of age, gender or ethnic demographic. But a new report from the Pew Research Center called "The Internet and Civic Engagement," finds that many of the same patterns chronicled in "real life" are being mirrored with online involvement.
Apparently, the "wealthy" or "well-educated" continue to be the most active.
But, the report's authors still hold hope that over time, this will change, which is important for those planning Smart Cities or Smart government initiatives.
That's because, demographically speaking, younger adults are becoming more politically active on blogs and social networking sites. Of the approximately 19 percent of individuals that have been politically active on some sort of civic site, a significant number are young adults. And, those that tend to become active online tend, ultimately, to become involved offline, too. All this data is attributable to a Pew report conducted in August 2008.
Consider the following:
- 61 percent of online participants had signed a petition, vs. 32 percent of all adults
- 56 percent of people that participate online are part of a civic or political group, compared with 36 percent of all adults
- 50 percent of online participants had reached out directly to a government official, vs. 30 percent of all adults
- 81 percent of those who are active online have made a political contribution in the last 12 months, and one-third specifically donated to a party or candidate
As I just noted, these stats are based on research conducted in August 2008 at the height of a very contentious Presidential campaign. Approximately 2,251 adults were surveyed by Pew as part of a national telephone poll. I'll bet if that poll was taken now, in September 2009, the results would be different. That's because younger folks always seem to be more active according to the political cycles, while those of us with more to lose (as in money) tend to squawk more when the economy turns sour.
Personally speaking, I don't ever think that will change, regardless of how democratic political access and activity might become in the digital, smart planet age.
Sep 7, 2009
I agree with DanaBlankenhorn. Younger generations will eventually define the Internet, as much they will define politics when they take charge. If older generations want to stay involved in politics, they will have to keep up on social networking and the latest technologies. I work for a company that represents Certiport, which administers certification courses and exams to help people learn those skills (http://www.certiport.com). Especially with newspapers on the decline, if you're on the wrong side of the digital divide, you may be grossly uninformed.
It was not the people who created TV that created its vocabulary and made it vital. It was the kids who watched TV, who grew up on it in the 1950s and 1960s, who did that. Same thing with the Internet. Our generation has built the resource. But it's those people born in the late 1980s, 1990s, and in this decade, people who've grown up with it their whole lives, who take it for granted, who will determine what it is to become.
The ones who actively participate will rule over those who do not. If only 10% of the people vote, then my vote carries the weight of ten warm bodies when I do vote. Given the propensity for the non-participants to lean one way or another is not an excuse to give greater weight to those of the same inclination when they do participate in any decision making process. This is a clear and unambiguous violation of the Supreme Court's "one person one vote" ruling. If you snooze on election day, you lose.