ICT-based personal networks

Definition

Share of Internet users who actively participate on social networking platforms (incl. chat sites, newsgroups, online discussion forums, own weblog, creating a profile on a social networking site).

Unit of observation

Total adult population

Reporting unit

Internet users

Operationalisation

Survey question (as piloted in TRANSFORM): “Have you use the Internet in the past 3 months (for private or work purposes) for the following communication activities:

  1. Posting messages to chat sites, newsgroups or on-line discussion forum
  2. Creating or maintaining own weblog or blog
  3. Uploading self-created content (text, images, photos, videos, music etc.) to any website to be shared
  4. Creating a profile on a social networking site such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn [...]
  5. Designing or maintained a website

Complementary indicators

  • Share of Internet users who upload self-created content to the Internet (incl. own weblog; uploading text, images, photos, videos, music, etc.; designing or maintaining a website)
  • Use of social networking sites, differentiated by main purpose (work-related; leisure-related; civic-related)
  • Heterogeneity of ICT-based personal networks (An index which measures the degree to which the ICT-based personal networks of individual members of the population comprise different types of people (geographical location, ethnicity, occupation, socio-economic status))

Relation to existing indicators

A number of recent surveys have piloted similar indicators, for example the Oxford Internet Survey. A 2007 report by the OECD gives a good overview of the issues involved in measurement.

Methodological issues concerning application of the indicator

These indicators are informed by the findings of recent empirical research into the importance of social capital and network creation for regional development. The additional indicators take account of the vital distinction being made between different types of social capital, namely bonding, bridging and linking social capital, all of which need to be sufficiently developed to foster growth and innovation in the knowledge-based economy.
The indicator definition needs to be regularly checked and, if necessary, updated in order to keep track with technological and market developments

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