Digital Divide: Social
The digital divide is the social, and economic gap between those have the means and ability to access technology and those who cannot.
In human geography, the concept of core and periphery applies here. Whether we are on the global scale, or even the municipal level - a digital divide exists between the demographics of a given region. The core consists of a younger demographic that grew up with technology and are used to the frequent, dramatic shifts in how all media is consumed.
We at CL Simplex live and breathe technology - however we understand that some people do not, or cannot consume technology in the same manner. We need to aware of the social, and economic challenges that exist as a result of this digital divide.
Social Digital Divide
The Echo Chamber
An ever prescient example of the digital divide: the social media echo chamber. People seem the think we live in the “age of fake news and deceit.” Rhetoric has ruled over substance since ancient Greece. The “golden age” of facts and reason has yet to arrive, unfortunately.
It becomes more difficult to relate to people that cannot participate in the same experiences and cannot keep up to date with the popular culture. The demographics online savvy people don’t agree with are generally vilified in social media as ignorant, misogynistic racists. There is no reaching across the aisle because our aisle has digital accessibility barriers. The Donald Trump presidential election as well as the “Brexit” referendum are prime examples. Democratic processes have produced results, and everyone who does not agree with the young, online crowd are being heavily vilified in online discussions where older, less connected people are traditionally underrepresented. Other cultures with barriers coming from state level actors, or have economic barriers are less exposed to the internet as we know it, making it more difficult for western cultures to understand and experience the rest of the world. It can also lead to further echo chambers and misinformation - such as “learning” about North Korean generals being executed everyday. It’s easy to control the narrative regarding groups that are not connected.
The internet may not be accessible for other reasons. Visually impaired individuals have a different experience when browsing Youtube. Hearing impairments influence the experience of products with audio. Accessibility standards exist but are rarely implemented correctly if at all. These markets are simply missed by firms out of either ignorance of the issue or accessibility tools are cut from already aggressive budgets and timelines.
In an increasingly connected world, people tend to seek out similar view points, rather than reaching out and experiencing new perspectives. As you may imagine, this effect is amplified when we talk about people who aren’t represented within the social network.
The burden falls on the connected to understand the true relationship between people and technology. The internet is amazing, but people are prone to human nature which can limit the benefits of the greatest accomplishment in human history (post explaining why I believe this to be the case pending.)
Digital Digital: Part Two
We focus on the economic aspects to the digital divide. Post coming soon!
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