Most Americans use traditional methods to get involved with social issues. But most believe that technology makes it easier to do so, even our eldest activists.

Americans Engage With Social Change Through Digital Channels


Engaging in social change is important to Americans - 77 percent say its important to be personally involved in positive social change, and 91 percent believe it is important to society as a whole that individuals are involved. Currently, digital means have not surpassed traditional methods in terms of how people become involved in causes, but it is a conduit to involvement. Digital tech plays a role across older and younger generations as a way to quickly become informed and participate in non-tech ways to make a difference. Groups were defined in a Walden University Report as Matures (66+), Baby Boomers (47-65), Generation X (35-46) and Generation Y (18-34).

Blog posting, social networks and texting are favorite tech ways to help a cause

Traditional methods such as donations, educating others and volunteering are still the most popular ways to become involved. However, among all generations, at least eighty percent agree that getting involved is faster and more frequent thanks to digital tech - this belief is strongest with older generations - Matures: 85 percent, Boomers: 86 percent, Gen X: 84 percent and Gen Y 80 percent. Good numbers of Americans have engaged through digital channels, such as expressing opinions on a blog or other site related to a cause or issue (36%; 49%; 47%; 52% ); “joining or creating a group on a social networking site that was dedicated to an issue” (30%; 35%; 43%; 49%); or “texting to make donations, vote, organize a demonstration, etc.” (36%; 33%; 37%; 35%) 

Digital social change makes participation easier, especially for those over 66 years old

The convenience of digital activism and the success of its adoption by the public make for big numbers. 110 million people posted a comment on a blog or other Web site about their opinion on an issue in the past year. In that same timeframe, 93.8 million joined a social networking site cause page and 82.1 million texted a cause-related donation, vote or demonstration information. This is another example of preexisting behavior made easier through technology. The Mature generation responded higher than any other group that tech makes it easier to follow social change news, and directly help those in need.


By Ivory King