NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Who has the most power to effect change today? If you think it's the world's political leaders, you're in the minority. According to a new study from Havas Worldwide, the single greatest agent of change is "the people, empowered by social media." It's part of a shift that is seeing the responsibility for solving our most pressing challenges shared not just by the world's governments, but also by citizen-consumers and businesses. (Thirty-five percent of the sample cited social media-empowered citizens as the greatest agent of change, while 25% picked "government/politicians," 24% said "what we consume," and 16% chose "corporations and companies.")
The Havas Worldwide survey was fielded online by Market Probe International among more than 10,000 adults in 31 countries.
We don't trust politicians to do their jobs: The survey respondents live under a variety of forms of government, but few are satisfied with the results they're seeing from their political officials.
- Fewer than 4 in 10 (39%) say they have moderate or a lot of faith in their national governments, while only slightly more (42%) have faith in their local governments.
- Eighty-eight percent of the global sample use social media at least once a day, and 45% say it has made them more politically aware/active. The latter is especially true of two subsets within the sample: leading-edge Prosumers (62%) and millennials, defined here as ages 18-34. Fifty-four percent of millennials say social media has made them more politically active, compared with just 24% of those aged 55+.
- Forty percent of the global sample believe social media has made them more influential/powerful, including 57% of Prosumers and 49% of millennials.
- A third of the sample already use social media to change the world for the better, and 42% expect to use it more in the future to promote worthy causes.
- Seventy-three percent believe that the more powerful corporations become, the more obligated they are to behave ethically and with the public interest in mind. In fact, more than two-thirds (68%) say businesses bear as much responsibility as government for driving positive social change.
- Seventy-six percent want corporations and government to work together to make the world a better place.
- Sixty-one percent would like their favorite brands/companies to play a bigger role in their local communities.
- And 6 in 10 expect corporations to play an increasingly vital role in addressing the world's major problems.
- Sixty-three percent say that, in general, businesses are better run than governments.
- Around two-thirds of Prosumers (67%) and 55% of the mainstream think corporations are better positioned than governments to combat climate change.
- According to the survey respondents, the most important factor in being a good citizen today is behaving ethically and responsibly (cited as a top-three factor by 68% of the sample), followed by being self-sufficient/taking care of one's family (54%) and being a responsible consumer (36%).
- For many, the most important votes they place are not at the ballot box a few times a year, but every day, with their pocketbooks, as they make purchasing decisions in support of things they care about. Around half the sample (48%) believe they have more influence on society as consumers than they do as voters, while only 14% disagree (the remainder being neutral).
- Most (56%) believe that a person who recycles regularly is a better citizen than someone who votes in every election but doesn't make an effort to reduce his or her waste.
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