January 18, 2007

Online politics...

Fascinatin' stuff from Micah L. Sifry...(Thanks to Glenn)

The Pew Internet & American Life Project is releasing another of its ongoing reports tracking Americans' use of the internet today (and someone leaked us an advance copy), and this report contains some really important news:

* More than 60 million people (31% of all Americans online) say they were online during the 2006 campaign to get information about candidates and/or exchange views via email. They call this growing group "campaign internet users." This group trends young (duh); wealthy; well-educated; and somewhat more white than of color (33% of white Americans vs 23% of blacks and Hispanics).

* People with broadband connections at home (now 45% of the overall adult population, compared to 3% in 2000) are far more likely to use the net for political news. In particular, people under 36 are twice as likely to cite the net as their main source of political news, compared to newspapers.

* By far the most interesting discovery from their survey: 23% of campaign internet users has either posted their own political commentary to the web via a blog, site or newsgroup (8%); forwarded or posted someone else's commentary (13%); created political audio or video (1%); forwarded someone else's audio or video (8%). "That translates into about 14 million people who were using the 'read-write Web' to contribute to political discussion and activity," the study's authors Lee Rainie and John Horrigan write.

*This group, which Pew labels "online political activists," is disproportionately liberal. "Some 15% of internet users who describe themselves as liberals are such online activists, compared with 9% of online conservatives," Rainie and Horrigan note....

Cool. What does it mean? Maybe when I've had another cuppa coffee, I'll think of the grand insight...(As usual, my customers put off finalizing plans until "after the holidays." Which is now, so I'm plenty busy...

The liberal slant doesn't surprise me too much. It's sort of like the way you find most of the bookstores in the liberal neighborhoods. Doesn't necessarily mean much, if what's selling is the equivalent, in in intellectual terms, of "empty calories." Think memoirs by someone like Barak Obama. It's better to have a few solid ideas, and cling to them stubbornly, even stupidly, than to enlist in the zeitgeist. “I had rather have a plain, russet-coated Captain, that knows what he fights for, and loves what he knows, than that which you call a Gentle-man and is nothing else”

Posted by John Weidner at January 18, 2007 8:29 AM
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