The Digital Divide and My Digital Consumption Diary: Week 4 Blog Reflection

Our assignment prior to the Week 4 class was to record our habits on digital media and throughout a normal day. Like many, I chose to study my habits on Sunday. While my habits were different on this day, as I didn’t spend around 8 hours on digital media at work, they were pretty similar. My main trend was multitasking by watching TV and using my computer or smartphone. Interestingly, I didn’t use my phone as much when no other media was being played in the background.

Additionally, I had a little bit of FOMO (fear of missing out), particularly when I went to Walmart and saw a man with his earphones in, seemingly listening to music or a podcast. On the day I was recording my actions on digital media and devices, I had left my earphones at home. More than FOMO though, I simply didn’t want to be bothered with all that comes from spending a weekend afternoon at Walmart.

As with almost everyone, I began and ended my day by checking my phone. In the end, I used digital media for about 9.75 hours of my 11 hour day. And yes, you read that right, I was only up for 11 hours on Sunday. It was delightful.

For most of the class period, we talked about the digital divide. The definition is essentially the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology and those that don’t or have restricted access. There are 3 main areas that create the divide:

  • Global
  • Social
  • Personal Choice

Global encompasses the industrialized and less industrialized nations, urban and suburban areas against the rural areas with lack of infrastructure. The social divide looks at the rich vs. the poor, and discrepancies because of age, race, income, and education. Personal choice looks at individuals who choose not to be a part of the digital landscape. Reasons include fear of decreased privacy and security.

We drafted up ideas for conferences that would allow us to develop a plan to give people who don’t have access to the internet the tools they’ll need to learn and become sufficient in using the internet and digital media platforms.

In 2014, I spent a few hours teaching social media and SEO basics to a 80-year-old lawyer in DC. I can certainly attest to how hard it can be to teach these new technologies. In the second meeting it seemed that everything we discussed and worked on he had forgotten. Getting with a group of knowledgeable professionals would help to curb the onboarding process.

We will continue to discuss the digital divide moving forward, as it is an important aspect of digital communications. People without reliable access to the internet usually find themselves with less access to information, self-education, news sources, etc.

There are many people who have made it a goal to provide free wi-fi across the globe or country, including companies Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

Of course, to use that new internet, the user would have to have access to the technology to access the internet, creating another potential set of issues.

Header image from MIT Technology Review
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