Next American City columnist Christian Madera takes a look at the growing trend.
"Earlier this month, the Pew Internet & American Life Project released a new report with survey data on how people are using the Internet and other communication tools to keep informed about what's going on in their neighborhood. The report showed that face-to-face encounters with neighbors remain the primary method that people talk with each other about community issues – with 46% percent of Americans reporting they had done so in the last 12 months.
When it comes to online tools such as email, blogs, text messaging and social networking, only about one fifth of Americans (and 27% of internet users) report such activity. At first glance, this figure may seem underwhelming. But when you consider that practically the same number of Americans (21%) use the telephone to talk about community issues with their neighbors, the numbers don't seem so bad."