Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Group interaction and the Internet

Internet users are more likely to participate in voluntary groups and organizations according to a report from the Pew Research Center. Eighty percent of Internet users are active in groups, compared to 56% of non-Internet users and 75% of the public as a whole.

While there's a lot going on in this report, the following interests me the most:

It seems that Internet use positively correlates with the level of group activity. I am, however, skeptical.

I think there might be a third variable issue here. Does using the Internet facilitate greater group interaction? Probably. But would these same individuals be active in groups without Internet access? Is there something about them that sparks a need for activity that may also drive them to use the Web as a means to placate that need? I don't know. Good questions though.

What bothers me most about this study summary is that "groups" are never operationally defined. Based on the data, I assume the researchers are pointing to more formal groups with clearly defined agendas, but it's hard to tell.

Still, I think it's worth a look.

No comments:

Post a Comment