Thursday, April 30, 2009

Digital Divide... duh!

After 15 weeks in LIS 640, I feel that it is safe to make the claim that the digital divide exists. Through each reading and discussion, I have found that technology can either create or prevent opportunity for individuals within the United States and also across the globe. I don't think that there is one specific "digital divide". Instead, I see the digital divide as a phenomenon that has the potential to occur in all forms of technology. Technology's context within a specific society and its application can either make or break how effective it is for users. But what about the individuals who cannot access technology due to socioeconomic factors? The issue of digital divides doesn't necessarily have to do with technology itself; rather, it also has to do with political barriers to entry (high or low) as well as economic standards. Overall, I think that it is hard to say that there is a specific "digital divide" that we, as students, can combat.

Do I have the specific answer to solve the issues stemming from the digital divide? No. However, I do feel that there are steps that our society needs to take in order to reduce the negative impact that technology may have on the lives of individuals, whether young or old, within the U.S.. The largest barrier, I feel, is that of simply purchasing technology in order to facilitate its use. In order to provide access to technology for all who wish to seek it, I believe that firms who are subsidizing the cost, such as the government, need to make sure that they are making smart purchases that will last over a long duration of time. Buying goods that will not be technologically sustainable, meaning that they will become obsolete quickly, does no good for those who purchase and those who use these goods.

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