The Internet and Civic Engagement


Smith, A., Schlozman, K.L., Verba, S. & Brady, H.E. (2009). The Internet and Civic Engagement. Washington, D.C.: Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved September 04, 2009 from

Work data:

Type of work: Report


e-Democracy | Politics and Political Science | Social Media & Social Software


Political and civic involvement have long been dominated by those with high levels of income and education, leading some advocates to hope that internet-based engagement might alter this pattern. However, a new report by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project shows that the internet is not changing the fundamental socio-economic character of civic engagement in America. When it comes to online activities such as contributing money, contacting a government official or signing an online petition, the wealthy and well-educated continue to lead the way.

Still, there are hints that the new forms of civic engagement anchored in blogs and social networking sites could alter long-standing patterns. Some 19% of internet users have posted material online about political or social issues or used a social networking site for some form of civic or political engagement. And this group of activists is disproportionately young.