Social Networks in 2015: How Will People Connect for the Greater Good?

Report Shows How Technology is Changing the Way People Organize to Build Better Communities and How the Philanthropy Sector has a Critical Role

MIAMI (April 6, 2010) A new Knight Foundation and Monitor Institute report explores how an increasingly connected world – where social networks are proliferating on and off-line– will affect the way people push for social change.


Connected Citizens

Report available at


2 p.m. EDT April 20th. Register@Readytalk.

Connected Citizens: The Power, Peril and Potential of Networks, available at, draws from more than 70 rich examples of how networks are being used to build better and more engaged communities.  Together, these networks have pushed for open government, cared for the elderly, assisted disaster victims and more.


The report looks ahead to the year 2015 and envisions three scenarios of how society may change as a result of the evolving way people connect to information and each other. One scenario projects a world of distrust where concerns about privacy dominate and people retreat from the public space into their foxholes; another foresees a more trusting environment where residents connect to improve their communities at a local level; a third depicts an extremely mobile society shaped more by personal preferences than by place.

The report is designed to help funders consider how to use networks to foster community change. Included are five promising ways people are using networks for social action. They include listening to the crowd to gain new perspectives, and designing for serendipity so that there are online and offline environments where people can connect and innovate.

The findings also point to the critical role technology and communications innovations play in empowering advocates and funders with tools that help harness the power of networks and dispersed leadership.

“We have the ability to connect to each other like never before,” said Mayur Patel, Knight Foundation’s VP for Strategy and Assessment. “To be effective as change makers, community leaders and funders alike, we all need to understand the potential of networks, and how they can be used for community change.”

“Networks are all about people, relationships and trust, “ said Diana Scearce, senior consultant with Monitor Institute. “They’re nothing new, but technology is amplifying our ability to connect and coordinate and funders have an opportunity to channel this potential for good.”

Knight and Monitor will host a webinar discussion of the report at 2 p.m. EDT April 20. Sign up at

The report is part of Knight Foundation’s Technology for Engagement Initiative, which supports projects that use technology to help people take action and is central to Knight’s focus on promoting informed and engaged communities.


About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit

About the Monitor Institute
Monitor Institute is a social enterprise that is part consulting firm, part “think tank,” and part incubator of new approaches. The Institute works with innovative leaders—including social entrepreneurs, established nonprofits, many of the nation’s largest foundations, and high net worth donors—to develop sustainable solutions to significant social and environmental problems. For more, visit

Contact: Sharon Gallagher, 215-209-3075;

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit