01/19/2011 02:58 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

'The Social Side Of The Internet': Web Users More Likely To Volunteer, Study Shows

Internet users are more social than ever, according to a new study, which also shows that online socializing connects to real-life volunteering.

With the rising popularity of social networking websites and smart phones, Americans are using technology to get involved in their communities.

In their recent report, "The Social Side of the Internet," the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that Internet users -- especially social media users -- are more likely to belong to volunteer groups than people who haven't embraced technology.

The report overview states:

80% of internet users participate in groups, compared with 56% of non-internet users. Moreover, social media users are even more likely to be active: 82% of social network users and 85% of Twitter users are group participants.

CNN reports that organizations that were quick to catch on to the power of social media have experienced rapid growth -- without turning to traditional outreach methods.

The article uses nonprofit charity: water as an example of this new cost-effective technology-based strategy:

By charity standards, the organization has grown quickly. Charity: water has 25 staff members and regularly creates big buzz thanks to online campaigns, using Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. It doesn't send direct mailings or street team promoters.