Is the online world as important to users as the real world? 43% Say Yes!

Is the online world as important to users as the real world? The 2007 Digital Future Project found that 43% of Internet users who are members of online communities say that they “feel as strongly” about their virtual community as they do about their real-world communities, according to the sixth annual survey of the impact of the Internet conducted by the USC-Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future..

“More than a decade after the portals of the Worldwide Web opened to the public, we are now witnessing the true emergence of the Internet as the powerful personal and social phenomenon we knew it would become,” said Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future. 

2007 Digital Future Project Highlights:

Online communities: 

  • 20.3% online community users take actions offline at least once a year that are related to their online community. 

  • Some 43.7% of online community members participate more in social activism since they started participating in online communities.

  • 56.6% of members of online communities log into their community at least once a day.

  • 70.4% of online community members say they sometimes or always interact with other members of their community while logged in.

Posting information: Growing percentages of Internet users are going online to post information, whether on a blog, posting photos, or maintaining a personal Web site.

  • The number of Internet users in America who keep a blog has more than doubled in three years (now 7.4 percent of users, up from 3.2 percent in 2003).

  • Likewise, the number of Internet users who post photos online has more than doubled in three years (now 23.6 percent of users, up from 11 percent).

  • The number of users who maintain their own Web site continues to grow steadily (now 12.5 percent of users).

New friends, online and in person -- Internet users are finding growing numbers of online friends, as well as friends they first met online and then met in person. 

  • In 2006, Internet users report having met an average of 4.65 friends online whom they have never met in person. 

  • Internet users in 2006 report an average of 1.6 friends met in person whom they originally met online -- more than double the number when the Digital Future Project began in 2000.

For highlights of the 2006 Digital Future Project or to order a copy of the complete report, visit www.digitalcenter.org.

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