In a panel discussion held on March 7 at Tufts College in Massachusetts, Robert Putnam said that he thought an amalgam of internet interactions and face-to-face interactions was critical to raise civic engagement in the United States.
"I think that what we are seeing now, out in the country, is a wonderful amalgam of internet-based connections, thats how everybody learns about these things but also real face-to-face connections. I'm not actually so impressed by marches, or demonstrations or tweet-storms. Thats' not what is going to turn the country around. What's going to turn the country around is real people connecting with other real people, neighbors to try to do things in their community."
Prof Robert Putnam is a Professor at Harvard and well-known for his thesis that the United States has suffered a severe reduction in social interaction since the 1960s. His thesis is documented in "Bowling Alone". See wikipedia article.
See the video at Prof. Peter Levine's blog.