Pew Internet – Government Online Study

Greetings Gov Loopers!

First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Aaron Smith, and I’m a researcher at the Pew Internet & American Life Project. We’re a nonpartisan, nonprofit survey research firm located in Washington, DC, and we study the impact of the internet on topics ranging from politics and news to health care and family life.

The reason I’m here today is that we just released a new study that documents how the internet is changing the way people interact with government, and Steve and Andy have been kind enough to let me come here and discuss it with the govloop community. You can find the full report below:

Here are a few of the main findings:

  • Citizens are hungry for data – 40% of internet users went online in 2009 to get data about government activities (such as stimulus spending or campaign contributions).
  • Government interactions are moving beyond the website – 31% of internet users have gotten government information using tools such as blogs, online video, social networking sites or text messaging.
  • Government is not a one-way conversation – 23% of online adults now participate in the online discussion around government policies and issues.

Starting today, I’ll be here every Wednesday for four weeks to kick off a new forum topic about how Americans are using online tools in their government interactions. The first one is:

I’m hopeful that this research will help all of you as you figure out how to best engage in the online space. But just as important, I want to hear from you. Your experiences and real-world expertise can give context to our research, and help us take our findings beyond the numbers. I know from lurking in your forums that you’re not shy, so I’m expecting a good conversation! I’ll be monitoring the comments section, so if you have specific questions please send them my way.

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Patrick Quinn

Hi Aaron,

We corresponded in January 2009 about the Kansas Transportation Online Community. I’m glad to see Pew is following the development of digital government. I hope that “the structure of government” is one of the topics you address, as I think institutional changes are a-comin’.