“I don’t think the ethic of helping out and caring about your community has gone away,” says , who participated in a series of meetings to examine civic engagement in America. I think the big thing is to enable forms of engagement that don’t require a lot of people to get together at the same time. I think that’s something that just isn’t working with current lifestyles. If your organization method is ‘We’re going to have a weekly meeting to get anything done,’ that’s not going to attract a lot of people …
If you take as your marker how many minutes do people spend with friends sitting down and not being interrupted by any of their electronics, you’d have to say (technology) is not helping. If you take as your marker how much do people know about the daily life of their friends and parents and children, you’d have to say people are much closer. They can check in on little matters; they can text message each other 14 times a day.”
The above are the the words of University of Michigan School of Information professor Paul Resnick, quoted in an excellent article in the Ann Arbor News about blogging, online communities and how they may be helping people (especially young people) to interact with the offline world. The article references the blog Ann Arbor is Overrated which you might want to check out as well. We found this through Polygon the Dancing Bear, a blog by Washtenaw County Clerk Lawrence Kestennbaum who is quoted in the article as saying: One thing I have noticed in connection with some of the local online communities is that these groups are always stronger when there’s a way for people to get together and meet each other.
The article raises some very interesting ideas and we are very interested to hear what you think about it and also how the internet impacts your community.