Pew Internet has released an extensive new report titled, “Civic Engagement in the Digital Age.” The research, based on over 2,000 phone interviews during the summer of 2012, begins to paint a picture of civic engagement, particularly political engagement, during a period of explosive growth in the use of social networking sites. Among the report’s findings:
- 48% of adults directly take part in a civic group or activity.
- 39% of adults recently contacted a government official or spoke out in a public forum via offline methods.
- 34% did those things via online methods.
- 39% of adults do political or civic activities on social networking sites.
Download the full report here.
The price of enterprise-class 3D printers is now under $2,000. Maybe it’s time we started thinking about some of the potential uses of 3D printing in community engagement?
The opportunities for this technology to support small creative enterprises is tremendous. The next surge in manufacturing jobs may just be in manufacturing customized products one at a time. Knowledge sharing will also benefit, as tangible objects of all types will be created to make learning (including applied learning) just a little more real.
Spend a few minutes with this PBS video called, Will 3D Printing Change the World?” You’ll probably think of many, many more community-centered applications for 3D printing.
I am always looking for great examples of readily available, free technologies are being used for public benefit. This sounds like a great potential civic engagement project for campuses in snowy places like Minnesota.
Developed by Code for America, Adopt-a-Hydrant helps people to claim responsibility for shoveling out a fire hydrant after it snows. The Adopt a Hydrant software is free for any city to adopt. Learn More.
From the Knight Foundation’s Technology for Engagement Initiative
There is a good piece by Courtney Martin, on the Stanford Social Innovation Review site titled: Transforming Democracy Through Digital Technology. Martin reports from the recent TEDxWomen conference, on the democracy/technology connection. Among her lessons learned:
- It’s not just you. No one’s got it quite right yet.
- Don’t build it. They won’t come.
- You are not the target user.
- Data is where it’s at.
- Optimism is the technology we need most.
Read the details at ssireview.org
“The thought is father to the deed, at least when it comes to the relationship between online social interactions and offline activities. A new survey shows that more than half of users on four of the top five social platforms have taken offline action directly as a result of an online interaction. The findings suggest that businesses and organizations can grow their customer base, increase revenue and drive greater participation by linking online behaviors to offline activity.” Read the full article at mashable.com
I am a big proponent of capturing the voices of all the players in civic engagement activities. Now that most people are walking around with pretty high quality digital recorders, it seems to make sense to understand how we might make the best recordings possible. If you want some good fundamental advice, check out the following piece by Lindsay Kalter, on the International Journalist’s Network blog, “How to record clear audio on a mobile phone.”