Ethelo Insight: With public turnout becoming more of a concern, organizations are looking for alternate ways to reach the public.

With up to 80% of the population online and concerns about persistent low public meeting turnouts, apathy and small special-interest lobby groups, it makes sense to try and reach people via digital technology.

Less people are willing to spend hours in a room after a long commute from work. More companies are offering flexible shifts which may make participation even more of a challenge. The population is aging and senior citizens are less mobile but more internet savvy than ever before.  

This excellent article by Della Rucker covers all this and more, including the shift in power from organizations to individuals. Let’s go digital!

Although it is not uncommon to still hear public engagement specialists raise concerns about the Digital Consultations
“digital divide” — the perception that certain population groups do not use and do not have access to internet-based communication — studies increasingly indicate that this divide is in most cases closer to myth than reality, especially when access through mobile devices is included. According to the Pew Research Report, “Americans’ Internet Access: 2000–2015,” 84% of all American adults had internet access in 2013, 2014 and 2015, with rates as high as 96%, which statistically represents full saturation, among some segments of the population. Historically non-internet using populations had by 2015 become majority internet-using populations, with 78% of rural residents, 81% of Hispanic residents and 58% of senior citizens using the internet in 2015. Among persons who had not attained a high school diploma, 66% of survey respondents used the interent, and 74% of households earning less than $30,000 yearly were using the internet. Interestingly, these two populations represented the fastest-growing internet usage across Pew’s longitudinal data, a factor that may be influenced by the increasing availability of mobile devices.

Written by Della Rucker Read More