Pew Internet Research has issued two studies that should be great interest to nonprofits in the advocacy and community action spaces.

The first, Neighbors Online, notes the increasing use of online tools by citizens interested in tracking community events, news and issues. Most folks still engage each other around such matters either face-to-face or over the phone (cell phone, these days), but online interaction is growing. In the twelve months preceding their survey:

  • 46% of Americans talked face-to-face with neighbors about community issues
  • 21% discussed community issues over the telephone
  • 11% read a blog dealing with community issues
  • 9% exchanged emails with neighbors about community issues and 5% say they belong to a community email listserv
  • 4% communicated with neighbors by text messaging on cell phones
  • 4% joined a social network site group connected to community issues
  • 2% followed neighbors using Twitter.

Additionally, 22% of adult Americans have signed up to receive alerts about community issues via text or email.

Many of these alerts pertain to weather, school closings, road closings and such. Still, for those nonprofits who seek to engage people around issues and action, this “training” on day-to-day stuff is important.

In another report, The State of Online Video, Pew reports that 7 in 10 adult internet users (US) have viewed or downloaded video online … that’s slightly over half of all adults (52%) …

  • Comedy or humorous videos, rising in viewership from 31% of adult internet users in 2007 to 50% of adult internet users in the current survey
  • Educational videos, rising in viewership from 22% to 38% of adult internet users
  • Movies or TV show videos, rising in viewership from 16% to 32% of adult internet users
  • Political videos, rising in viewership from 15% to 30% of adult internet users.

And 14% of online users have uploaded video, most publishing on Facebook (52%) or YouTube (49%).

Note the appeal of educational and political videos, competing against humor, movies and TV shows. That’s serious comfort to those of us who advocate more use of online video to deliver action and fundraising messages.


This article was posted in: Communications, Media usage / trends, Online fundraising and marketing.
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