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New Report: 2007 Digital Future Project

22 August, 2007
By Allison Orr

The Center for the Digital Future at the USC-Annenberg School has released the 2007 Digital Future Project report.  This is the sixth in an annual survey of the impact of the Internet.  Each year the project surveys more than 2,000 individuals across America, always contacting the same households, to explore the effect of online technology on Internet users and non-users.

The 2007 report shows that the Internet is "growing and evolving as an instrument for personal engagement", finding that large numbers of Internet users value their online world as highly as their real life community.  A majority of members of online communities log into their communities every day.  The increasingly social aspect of the Internet shows significant potential for politics as well, as the results show that participation in online communities leads to social activism.  Almost two thirds of online community members who participate in social causes through the Internet say they are involved in causes that were new to them when they began participating on the Internet.  More than 40 percent of online community members participate more in social activism since they started participating in online communities.

However, despite the current hype about Web 2.0 and its role in politics, Internet users’ belief in the Internet as a political tool seems to have declined.  The number of Internet users who believe that using the Internet will give people more of a say in what government does has declined, and is the lowest result in the five years this question has been asked.  There was also a decline in the number of Internet users who say that the Internet can be used as a tool to gain political power.

For full details, you can see this and previous year's reports at the Center for the Digital Future website.

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