Open Forum: Internet and Communities

abstract | author | presentation | report

An early promise of the Internet was that it would revive community life in the United States. By providing an easy means for communication, the hope was people with common interests and geographical proximity would connect in ways that they otherwise would not.

How Internet users are using the Internet as tools for community building was the focus of a recent survey conducted by the Pew Internet Project. The survey explored the extent to which Internet users participate in online communities with people sharing common interests. The survey also explored communities online, that is, online groups concerned with the places in which users live (i.e., neighborhood listservs).

In this talk, I will discuss the findings in detail and their implications for the Internet's evolution. A preview of findings:

- Americans are using the Internet as an associational tool; a strong majority of Internet users belong both to an online community and a community online connected to the place where they live.

-The Internet is prompting many Americans to join online communities.

- People who belong to such groups are active in them, emailing other members frequently and often meeting other members face-to-face.

back to program