The term digital divide or digital inequality fundamentally alludes to the inequality and differences as far as access to, and use of information technology is concerned (Warschauer, 2004). It is the dissimilarity that has developed after the advent of Information Communication Technology in the domain of consumer technology. Mark Warschauer plausibly asserts that there is more to digital divide than negligible physical vicinity and resources (Warschauer, 2004). In his works, Mark contends that the essential impediment to be overcome regarding fair access, is not just actualizing the innovation in the primary case, but also executing it in a way that does not just view framework as the first and final boundary to be tackled, but also paying attention to the issue of skills advancement as an inseparably associated part of the same issue.
The digital divide menace is not only rampant in developing countries but also deeply rooted in developed nations as well. In a rather twist of events, however, the global focus on digital divide has moved away from an access pivot to an array of other elements such as education, income, age, among others. Such developments have then led to a reduced access gap and achieved an expanding of the quality separation issue. In light of these developments, a progression of programs and strategies have been put in place with the aim of controlling the issue both the global and local scenes. Subsequently, new advances influence the conveyance of social point of interest, and can conceivably modify social chains of command. The dissemination of the Internet cuts across numerous global regions, yet Internet access remains isolated along social class, gender orientation, among other lines. The divergence in access and use for such gatherings constitutes digital divide and ultimately opens doors to information poverty.
The Most Worrisome Aspects of Digital Inequality
Digital divide is arguably more rampant in developed countries in light of their advancements in Information Technology than in less developed economies which still lag behind regarding technological infrastructure. The progression of this divide consequently draws a social divide in these societies. A digital divide draws a line between social classes which hinders collective economic growth and development. The social divisions within and between economies brought about by digital divide pose a threat to national cohesion and hence growth and development.
An analysis of digital divide from a social point of view suggests that the gap widens with radical technological innovations and increased access to information. On the other hand, Information Technology is essential to societal rebuilding, but in so doing, it also has a hand in the destruction of social classes and offsets societal balance. The implications of digital divide both positive and negative are far reaching and complex, and frequently past any endeavors at visual representation in such manner, if not in extension alone. Extensive research of the effects, at a societal level, is conceivable in an assortment of structures focusing on a variety of particular issues.
Consequently, it is apparent that resolving digital divide necessitates more than the distribution of resources. In addition to the resources, there is a need for constant endeavors at any rate for a period adequate to correct the circumstance in the medium term. The progressive process then targets to achieve the establishment of a well-defined industry and education all entrenched in whatever demographic the difference was clear in such that this industry is adequate, to maintain and advance the development information access.
How the Inequalities Can Be Reduced
It may not be possible to root out digital divide, but inequalities arising from the menace can be reduced. The essential aspect of reduction of these inequalities is the provision of easier access to information, especially in developing countries. The government in both developed and developing economies, the public, and also the private global organizations must join hands and work together towards the reduction of inequalities that digital divide brings along. Digital divide creates a division between nations and hinders social cohesion. It is for this reason therefore that all countries should work closely. These sentiments were echoed at a ministerial forum in Spain in 2002.
As long as digital divide persists, it is not possible to realize significant information potential since there exists a division between a gathering that has and another that lacks access to information. It, therefore, become imperative to seek a general goal towards the foundation of a comprehensive information society. Using technologies as a tool would also aid in the reduction of both social and economic inequalities. Be as it may, the new technologies also call for an adopted public policy.
Part 2: Concepts
The Space of Flows
In his writings, Castells a renowned sociologist defined the space of flows as a social deliberation of space and time, and their dynamic communications with digital age society (Castells, 2009). In a laymans language, the space of flows encompasses the social dimensions of space and time in the human life. Space and time are fundamental aspects and also intertwined. The space of flows provides a point of view where the conventional places can be seen as processes. The space of flows further dissects and enunciates the present day society through flows of different aspects such as capital, information, technology, to name but a few. Comprehension of the space of flows is essential in the development of contemporary society in the sense that flows are not unitary or a single unit of social dimensions but a manifestation of prevailing processes in the society. Comprehension of the space of flows also illuminates the material organization of social practices.
By space of flows comprehension of programmable successions of cooperation between physically incoherent positions held by social performing artists in the financial, political, and typical structures of society is simplified. Prevailing social practices are those which are implanted in predominant social structures. By principal structures, one can comprehend those courses of action of associations and establishments whose inner rationale assumes an essential part in forming social practices and collective social cognizance.
A weightless economy is the section of the economy that trades impalpable products and services such as software. There are key components that define weightless economies and distinguish them from the rest. First, items in a weightless economy have a relatively greater initial costs compared to the costs of reproduction, distribution, and maintenance. Second, items can be dispersed interminably. These, among other essential components, put the weightless economy among the quickest developing and most productive divisions of the business. The weightless economy can additionally be portrayed as an element of an information economy, where learning is exchanged as an impalpable item, not merely utilized as an instrument to fabricate physical items. In such an economy, a person who has that capacity to deliver impalpable items can become affluent assets.
Comprehension of weightless economies is essential to learning and innovation advancement all which are necessary for economic growth. In the contemporary society, the existence of the same physical and economic properties is more important than the resulting products for all products and services in the weightless economies. Additionally, understanding weightless economies aids in unraveling experimental variables and institutional structures that boost development of the contemporary society.
Succinctly, the term Produsage was coined from two words namely; production and usage mostly used to refer to content management environments and platforms most of which if not all are online. The concept dilutes the gap between consumers and producers with consumers now assuming the role of producers hence the invention of consumer-oriented content. A classic example of such is Wikipedia, which is an online content environment. Produsage is, therefore, the collaborative content conception practices found in contemporary Information Technology domains. It also encompasses the content creation processes in social media and other online platforms.
The contemporary business domain is currently characterized by a scarcity of producers or consumers, and the vicinity of an apparently interminable series of users acting incrementally as content creators. Understanding of Produsage would, therefore, equip one with the ability to comprehend the process of dilution of the gap between producers and consumers. Consumers are then in a position to interface and decipher content in a way that best suits their needs and preferences. Although unpublished and undistributed, there existed a form Produsage even before the advent of social media.
A surveillance society is a society that is tasked with the responsibility of, to a limited extent, in light of the large gathering, recording, investigation and use of data on people and gatherings in the society as they go about their lives. Looking and analyzing the society from an observation concept point of view, empowers us to mount a moral, social and spatial study of the data and information processing which forms part of the society. The concept of a surveillance society also empowers us to question its effect on the social fabric. The concept also empowers us to participate in civil debates with controllers, organizations, and columnists about the outcomes of their reconnaissance based exercises.
The Internet Public Sphere
The internet and its encompassing advancements hold the guarantee of resuscitating people in the general circle considering that a few parts of these new advances at the same time diminish and increase that potential. In the past, the question that was always on most researchers minds was the inquiry as to whether the internet had an impact on the public sphere and if so, the extent of the impact. In the contemporary society, the impact and scope of the internet are now evident.
The internet public sphere is instrumental in the comprehension of information storage and access of internet based technology, data access disparities and new media proficiency trade off the representativeness of the public virtue sphere. Web-based advances empower dialog between individuals on far sides of the globe, additionally regularly fragmentize political talk. In light of the leading wide free enterprise, it is conceivable that web-based advancements will adjust to the current political society, as opposed to replacing it. The web and related advances have made another open space for politically arranged discussion; whether this open space rises above to an open circle is not up to the innovation itself.
Castells, M. (2009). The Space of Flows, in The Rise of the Network Society (Second Edition ed., Vol. Volume 1). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Warschauer, M. (2004). Technology and Social Inclusion. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
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