The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press “is an independent, non-partisan public opinion research organization that studies attitudes toward politics, the press and public policy issues. In this role it serves as a valuable information resource for political leaders, journalists, scholars and citizens.”
They recently issued three reports on which communication tools we are using. Here is a very brief overview.
- 35% of all US adults have a smartphone.
- The biggest users — those with income of $75K or more, college degree, under age 45, African-American or Latino.
- Some 87% of smartphone owners access the internet or email on their handheld; 25% of smartphone owners say that they mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer.
- E-reader ownership has doubled in last six months, to 12% of US adults.
- Tablet ownership, now at 8%, appears to be leveling off; 17% of those with $75K+ income own one, and 13% of college grads.
- Confirming the overall trend toward adoption of mobile devices, laptop computers are for the first time as popular as desktop computers among U.S. adults.
- 47% of US adults use at least one social network site (SNS), close to double the number in 2008.
- Half these users are now over the age of 35.
- 92% are using Facebook, 18% LinkedIn, 13% Twitter.
However, here is what really excited me:
“At that time, 10% of Americans reported that they had attended a political rally, 23% reported that they had tried to convince someone to vote for a specific candidate, and 66% reported that they had or intended to vote. Internet users in general were over twice as likely to attend a political meeting, 78% more likely to try and influence someone’s vote, and 53% more likely to have voted or intended to vote. Compared with other internet users, and users of other SNS platforms, a Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day was an additional two and half times more likely to attend a political rally or meeting, 57% more likely to persuade someone on their vote, and an additional 43% more likely to have said they would vote.”
The premise of my novel, The Accidental Activist, written several years prior to this report, was the vision that the Internet and its various platforms would become a catalyst for more political and social advocacy.
It is still the beginning, but a very exciting beginning.
Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).