The Reality of the Digital Divide
I was recently forwarded an article entitled “The Absurdity of the Digital Divide.” In the piece, the author, John Dvorak, suggests that the digital divide is “specious,” perhaps cynically drummed up by the IT sector to sell more equipment.
Mr. Dvorak wrote: “I’ve come to the realization that most people really do not need a powerful computer in any way because they just surf Facebook all day. So what if someone does not have a machine? Time spent fretting over any sort of digital divide, whether international or local, is time wasted. I’ve concluded that the whole issue comes down to trying to make everyone else like oneself. I have a computer and it’s great, thus everyone should have one because I said so. In other words, any so-called digital divide is a meaningless construction manufactured to draw attention away from real problems.”
I must respectfully disagree. Without full access to state-of-the art digital tools, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to have full access to our citizenship. Take the example of the employment market, 80% of Fortune 500 companies only offer job postings online. Unless families without home connectivity can get to a library and apply for these positions within the 60 minutes typically permitted for computer use, they will never have a shot. To have less IT would mean fewer jobs filled. I’m not sure what Mr. Dvorak’s definition is, but to me, this is a “real problem.”
Although there are moments that we all long for the days when we weren’t accessible constantly via email, mobile devices, and social networking (“social crap” according to Mr. Dvorak); our society has changed, and is changing still, and to disregard the digital divide is to ignore this reality.
I invite you to read Mr. Dvorak’s article and then share your thoughts on the digital divide. As an organization committed to helping bridge the digital divide through our Serious Good initiative, we’d love to hear your perspective on the issue.