Technology has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, changing how we work, how we learn and how we shop. The Internet and related tools already play critical roles, here’s how:
- They lower transaction costs for group formation and action. While we have always come together to engage in community change through “weak ties,” the potential of the Internet is that we will be able to do this much more effectively.
- They shift time. Group members don’t have to be in the same room at the same time to “meet.” They can coordinate activities over days and months, and members can chime in at their convenience, whether it’s 2 p.m. or 3 a.m.
- They facilitate easy communication. Spreading the word now only takes one click and maybe one tweet. That’s all anyone needs to do these days to share something with a social network.
Given these benefits, what role should technology play in fostering engagement? How can technology help citizens become more involved with one another and more active in their communities?