The Internet to Users and Bloggers


In “Realizing the Social Internet? Online Social Networking Meets Offline Social Capital”, John Pasek, Eian More and Daniel Romer, study how interactions on the Internet influence young adults.  They particularly pay attention to see how the three factors of civic engagement, political knowledge, and interpersonal trust vary between users and non-users of social networking sites.  Not only do they analyze comparisons between users and non-users, they also look at how differences in user disparity and web culture on social networking sites, Facebook and MySpace, affect the three factors. The results were varied for the factors. Civic engagement and political knowledge were positively when the Internet was used as an information tool. Social network sites promoted offline civic engagement, but not interpersonal trust and there was no relation to political knowledge. But when the social networking sites were looked at separately the results were quite different. Facebook users had stronger civic engagement and political knowledge relationships. Where as MySpace users had less trust and were less likely to be engaged in groups.

Now looking at how the Internet affects another crowd: bloggers. In “Measuring the Success of Digital Campaigns”, Dave Karpf analyzes both tactical and strategic measures in digital activism. Tactical measures are a number count of visits, posts, signatures, views, etc. Strategic measures look at success. Karpf looks in depth at Twitter and how it has strategic measures with tweets, retweets, and followers. And also, with the hashtag feature how that builds communities online like the “Top Conservatives on Twitter”.  A real- life example can go back to Clay Shirky’s “It takes a Village to Find a Phone”, in Here Comes Everybody. Strategically this story was easily measured because the story went from a website to CNN and The New York Times, because of people blogging about the stolen phone on bulletin boards. Tactic measures are harder to analyze as Karpf points out because they can be easily manipulated.

Simon Columbus’s “ The New Casualties: Prisons and Persecution is a straightforward analysis of bloggers and government involvement. It looks at the effects on bloggers voicing their views online and how sometimes governments get involved, varying for countries on how they handle this situation.

How Internet affects bloggers and young adults is similar in that it gives them a place to learn and talk. But in your opinion, do you think that young adults who blog versus just engage on social networking sites would have a different civic engagement, political knowledge, and interpersonal trust online? And in your opinion, do you think government involvement with bloggers would change their civic engagement, political involvement, and interpersonal trust online?

This entry was posted in Winter 2012. Bookmark the permalink.

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