Feb 15, 2010 Comments Off
This weeks reading by Witte discussed the ” Digital Divide” that Witte himself has been researching heavily for much of his career. In the reading, Witte says,” it’s easy to see why the Internet might be celebrated for bringing about a social transformation in American. But has the Internet really brought about such a profound transformation? Even in the early days of the Internet, many suspected that information technology was mirroring rather than transforming social divides in the United States.” Witte claims that just as there have been “racial divides,” there will by digital divides as technology such as the internet becomes more and more ingrained in our societies lifestyle.
Witte sites many examples and gives many believable scenarios to back his ideas up. One main point of his that I found especially interesting was his discussion on how the “digital divide” could no longer be defined by access to the Internet. Instead, the digital divide no refers to the quality of access that individuals have. An example he gives is that anyone with Internet access can search for a how to video, but unless the connection is fast and reliable that person is not benefiting from the Internet as much as a typical user would.
Another point of Witte’s that I found interesting was that users determine what information is on the Internet. If the typical Internet user is middle class, than going to a website such as WebMD to get medical information will be easier for you. Featured articles will be common issues among the middle class. Topics such as lead poisoning will have less information available for them since it is more of a concern for people with lower incomes, and therefore less trafficked on the Internet since the main group that is concerned is unable to use the Internet as often or as well. It was fascinating to think that the reason google is able to guess my searches so well is only because there are hundreds of thousands of people out there searching the same things as me. If I type in red, google can guess I’m searching red box. If I type golden r, google finishes the word retriever. Its remarkable to realize how normal I am.