President Barack Obama speaks during an online Twitter town hall meeting from the East Room of the White House July 6, 2011 in Washington, DC. - 

The mayor of Newark New Jersey, Cory Booker, believes social media is a powerful way to solve the problems of a city like his. If a resident has a problem, Booker says tweet it, and he'll read it.

But a new study by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project shows that social media and the Internet are not helping much to get poorer people engaged in civic life.

"The wealthy, the well-educated are more likely to be proactive than people at the lower end of the socio-economic scale," says Pew's Aaron Smith. "One hope for the Internet and specifically for social networking spaces, is that the openness and low barriers to entry might help change that trend."

The study was conducted during the presidential campaign last summer. The survey also shows that civic engagement online can lead to civic engagement in the real world.


To see the full results from Pew, click here.


Follow David Brancaccio at @DavidBrancaccio