Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The question that has no answer.

The digital divide is another mirror to use in examining the inequalities that already exist between people of different geographic locations, race, class and gender.

In my opinion, to solve these inequalities, we would need a revolution, which, unfortunately doesn’t seem to be a very popular idea. It doesn’t appear to me that in a capitalist society, equality can be achieved. It is a system based on continuous growth, it places value on profits, rather than ideas. So, until we take all the wonderful examinations, analyses and discussion that we’ve been having in our University classes to the streets, I believe most efforts at finding solutions for these problems will be ineffective on a large scale.

I also think it would be beneficial to reevaluate the idea that technology=progress. For example, I’m not so sure that this blog has been particularly useful for me in this class. I can’t say that I’ve learned too much from the blog itself. Why can’t we just get together in person and talk? I don’t think technology is always useful for people. Why do I have to get an email from my boss at work about something when I sit 20 feet away from her? Call me a luddite, but I have to wonder if I might know my neighbors if we weren’t all on our computers and watching TV. Maybe then we could have some dialogue about what’s going on in the world. I know it would be silly to stop or deny technological change, but I think it may help our dilemma if we realized maybe not everyone wants to be a part of online networking or sending emails or buying stuff from ebay. On this note, more research on “non-users,” is a good idea, as well as also how to accommodate these people in a world in which it’s becoming increasingly hard to function and prosper without use of technologies.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for your post, Ashley. I do agree that technology is not always useful and that in some cases it's more efficient to talk face to face or on the phone, but I also think, for one example, that tools like blogs can be very helpful in addressing different learning styles, or ways of communicating. For me, the option to read and react through the wiki and blog was useful because I retain more by reading than through listening. It's helpful to have more options in addition to the physical classroom. Also, the way that I use email at work is different from how I use the phone or communicate face-to-face, and I like bring able to choose. I do agree that "non-users" should be considered, but should they always be accommodated?

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  2. I find that the issue of fear plays a huge role in people choosing to engage with technology (e.g., Internet, TV, etc.) over interacting with each other. Based on conversations I've had over the years, I've found that many people have a general distrust of opening up to others (whether that's emotionally or just physically opening up their homes). Capitalism certainly plays a role in this process, since the more people invest in material possessions, the more they have to worry about issues like theft, etc. With these sorts of underlying messages within our society, it's no surprise that people start to value the physical technologies more than the human connections they can sustain.

    Conversely, there's the whole issue of diasphoric cultures and participatory culture, in general, both of which can be addressed and nurtured through online formats. It's a way for many people to forge connections that wouldn't always be possible due to geographic divides, socioeconomic divides, etc. I'm particularly interested in the ways that media can be used to help foster community through simple things like message boards on fan sites, etc.

    One thing is for certain though: addressing ICT usage and its effects with various populations is certainly not a clear-cut issue and there isn't a universal solution to these problems.

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  3. I think agree with you more than some people... which is odd since I am addicted to the Internet. I do believe that I should spend more time "doing" and less time "reading", kinda ironic. I have several friends who refuse to use online resources and after hearing them out and seeing how much they get done in their lives I tend to agree. I think we have to acknowledge that some people function well without these networks and we should realize that people are different and act better with different tools.

    I also see the overuse of technology as a bit of a resource issue. My library is currently adding a library search catalog application to facebook... we already have an online catalog. I don't appreciate the fact that we have to cater and spend resources when access is already there.

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