A study on politics and civic engagement spotlights the special power of online networking.
A Pew Research Center study on social media, “Civic Engagement in the Digital Age,” has an important message for marketers: social networking often spurs participants to take action.
The Pew study specifically illustrates the strong links between social media and political involvement. For example, 43 percent of social networkers said they had decided to learn more about a political or social issue they read about on social media and 18 percent said they decided to take action because of something they read on a networking site.
“Overall,” says the report, “39 percent of all Americans took part in some form of political activity on a social networking site during the 2012 campaign.”
Television has always been described as a passive medium because viewers just sit and generally want to relax.
In social media like Twitter and Facebook, participants are active. They tweet and post, make comments, retweet and share the items that resonate.
Calls to action on social media can be effective because networkers are in an active mode – they are already doing something when they are online, which makes social media a source of considerable power for bringing about constructive (or destructive) action.
Social media is an interaction, with the emphasis on action.
In the sustainability arena, social media is an opportunity to tie a larger issue to a do-able action, such as:
- Joining an organization
- Signing up for a curbside recycling program
- Volunteering for an event
- Adopting an energy-saving behavior