Inter-organizational digital divide: Civic groups’ media strategies in the Trinity River Corridor Project

  • Gabe Ignatow University of North Texas
  • Jessica Lynn Schuett National Council for Science and the Environment
Keywords: civil society, civic groups, new media, social media, digital divide

Abstract

This study’s goals are 1) to investigate how leaders of civic groups make decisions about using new and social media versus older media forms of media, and 2) to reexamine major theses on the social effects of new media equipped with a better understanding of civic groups’ internal decision-making. To explore these issues, we conducted interviews with leaders of eight civic groups involved in the Trinity River Corridor development project in Dallas, TX. We also interviewed local journalists, and analyzed the eight civic groups’ web sites, social media sites, and blogs, as well as blogs that linked to the groups’ sites. We find that new and social media were used mainly by organizations that were not directly involved in major political actions, and that for the two groups most directly involved in political actions, the wealthier and more powerful group was better connected to other organizations that did use new and social media. The findings reveal a sharp digital divide between networks of civic organizations.

Author Biographies

Gabe Ignatow, University of North Texas
Gabe Ignatow is assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX. His research in the areas of globalization, new media, and social theory has been published in journals such as Social Forces, International Sociology, and the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.
Jessica Lynn Schuett, National Council for Science and the Environment
Jessica Lynn Schuett is a program coordinator for development and university relations at the National Council for Science and the Environment in Washington, D.C. She holds a B.A. from Texas A&M University and an M.A. in sociology from the University of North Texas.
Published
2011-11-07
How to Cite
Ignatow, G., & Schuett, J. L. (2011). Inter-organizational digital divide: Civic groups’ media strategies in the Trinity River Corridor Project. First Monday, 16(11). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i11.3696