Web 2.0 Community More Likely to be Do-Gooders

The web 2.0 community is more likely to be a bunch of do-gooders says a report published by the Pew Research Centre this January; stating that US Internet users, particularly people engaged on social networks are more likely to be active in volunteer organisations than those who don't go online. Last November and December 2,303 American adults were surveyed for this research and of all web users surveyed, 80% participated in volunteer groups than 56% of those who don’t use the Internet. While, 82% of social networkers, particularly 85 % of those on Twitter are active in volunteer groups; Jack Dorsey, Twitter's Co-founder emphasises how Twitter can be used to organise people and says, "We've put a lot of emphasis on tweeting as a promotional tool. A lot of the value of Twitter is actually in following people."

The survey found that 48 percent of active volunteers set up a Facebook page, 42 percent used text messaging, 30 percent blogged, and 16 percent communicated via Twitter. Plus, that Facebook, was used by 62% of internet users and was the most popular digital networking tool used by groups; more so than Twitter, which was used by 12% of internet users. Pew's research also found that web 2.0 users are more active participants in their groups than other adults, and are more likely to feel pride and a sense of accomplishment about their group's activities.

Interestingly, as a little aside, Pew found that internet users are a little more likely to attend church or participate in organised spiritual functions than people who aren't on web 2.0. Also, mobile-phone owners are significantly more likely to participate in religious groups than non-owners.

Savvy organisations like chairy:water have identified the potential of gathering group-minded people online. It started four years ago to promote clean water in the developing world has ensured its roots are in web 2.0, where expansion is cheap and nets can be cast widely. charity:water regularly creates a lot of online noise thanks to its online campaigns using Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. It doesn't send direct mailings or street team promoters. Paul Young, Director of Digital Engagement at charity: water says, "We've always been online-focused. We're finding that's the best way to connect with people."

The increased participation in groups or organisations is likely due to the fact that volunteer information is readily available on web 2.0. So, the idea that many of us online are engaged in making a difference somewhere to help enhance the activities of green movements and social initiatives is heartening. May be this altruistic trait will one day too be taken into account with our Klout scores (which is the measurement of your overall on-line influence) and social media profiles. What do you think? A good idea to motivate us for social causes?

Photo Credit: Dr. Phillip's High School Colorguard website