“Neighbors Online,” a new study from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, has found that 20 percent are using digital tools such as e-mail, texting and social networks to communicate with their neighbors. Twenty-two percent have signed up to receive local issue alerts via e-mail or SMS.
Eleven percent also report reading or participating in community blogs; 9 percent exchange e-mail with neighbors about community issues; and 4 percent exchange SMS about community issues. Women are more likely to be engaged online.
The study, which had 2,258 respondents, found that just 54 percent of respondents have any kind of community discussion with neighbors during the preceding 12 months; 44 percent have had face-to-face discussions. Just 24 percent said they knew the names of most of their neighbors. Frequent Internet users are much more likely to talk with neighbors than others — fitting into general societal patterns about “information intensives” that we have tracked for years.
One area that several companies have focused on are home owners association blogs and e-mail services. Companies such as eneighbors.com have worked to create a third-party involvement with associations. At one point last year, its sponsored ads on Google read: “I switched because no one visited our HOA website.”