Friday, February 18, 2005

The more things change. . ..

What I found rather interesting from reading the reports from 1984, 1995 and 2003 is the shift that has happened in what people view the use of computers to be. In 1984 people owned computers to learn how to use them. By 1995 and 2003 that wasn’t even an option. By those later times they were owned primarily for internet access. Eventually in 2003 what is being studied is not computer ownership as the indicator for access but high speed internet.

Also striking is how, when asked why they don’t have a computer, people didn’t generally respond that it was too expensive but rather that they weren’t interested or the computer has no use to them. Do you think that this is true? If this is the case why are so many going to public spaces to use the internet?

How would you fit the trends of computer use over time into the models we saw last time? Do we have enough evidence to make a case for either the normalization or stratification S-curves?


  1. This is kind of tangental to your post, but something I'd wanted to mention in class today. At the end of the 1984 report, it says that if you want to see all the tables and breakdowns of the statistics by demographic group, you had to write to them and ask for copies. And pay for the copies!

    The 2003 article points people to a website where they can find the tables and demographic info not included in the article. I haven't checked, but I doubt there a fee to access this info.

    I guess that's the paradox of the digital divide. This technology has made it easier for people to find important information on many subjects for free. Seems like a great equalizer. But although those copy charges weren't cheap, they were a lot cheaper than buying a home computer and paying for an Internet connection.

  2. I am curious to talk about the issue of "not interested" as a reason to not get Internet access at home. I feel that I would be in this catagory (mostly). I did write a bit more about this in a post that the server is trying to say has disappeared. If you can find it, it is somewhat relevant. Either way, I would love to talk about it in class next week.