Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Motivation Divide

I have been thinking about the "motivation divide" in Internet use. In "The Digital Divide as a Complex and Dynamic Phenomenon", there is some information about people who do not own computers or do not use the Internet because they do not want to.

If these people really do not want to use the Internet, that is their choice. Some people choose not to own televisions or automobiles too. It is certainly possible for many people to get by without the Internet at all, or to use the Internet only for work-related tasks at the office. However, if people think they do not want to use the Internet because they do not know all the things it can be used for, that is unfortunate.

I suspect a lot of "off-liners" think the Internet is just for e-mail, games, pornography, and shopping. These aspects of the Internet get more publicity and advertising not just because they're popular, but because they're the most commercial. This is my bias, but it seems to me that there is really something for everyone on the Internet, if only they know how to look for it. How could the public be made more aware of the many other uses of the Internet?

Although it never did become common (or practical) to store your recipes on your PC, I think a site like All Recipes could be useful to almost anyone who cooks. Printed cookbooks can provide a large collection of recipes, but on the Web it's also possible to include comments and advice from other people who have tried the recipes and make the whole thing searchable by category, ingredient, and prep time. I can think of many other examples of useful Internet resources, but I'm sure a lot of people who might enjoy them don't know about them.

Then again, maybe the people who say they don't need the Internet are right. My grandmother always did fine without an online source for recipes.


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  2. This thing about recipes keeps re-occurring and is *interesting*, both in light of your posting and recalling that recipes were an original advertised lure for computer use. Did the recipe "use" of a computer somehow come from a male-centered view of what information women need or want? Any feminist thinkers in our group might comment further. As for grammas, I remember that mine and her neighbors used to exchange recipes, bring back new ones from trips, make church/community cookbooks, and listen to radio shows. This was their "network". It would be truly fascinating, but probably impossible, to discover the categories of information that women DO seek and use from the net, and how it differs from men's categories...