In a moment of “OMG!”, a survey was recently published that details that about 20% of America has never used a computer or the Internet. This is what we call the “Digital Divide.” In a time where everything is on the Web (or at least a computer), you have to wonder what those people do to survive in this technology age.
In a style like Barack Obama, I’ll say this abstract regarding this minority:
[These] people cling on to their traditions like telephones, paper and books and look at technology experts with disgust against progression.
Is technology too difficult or do these people make an active decision not to embrace technology? I mean, is it too challenging or is it because of the fear of government interception like Enemy of the State? Most people who fall into that minority were over the age of 60, so they certainly experienced a lot of change in their lifetime. I don’t know, and I don’t think we’ll ever know simply because of the secluded nature of that demographic. (How many of them really have blogs…?)
If we ever expect to take on the likes of China or Netherlands in terms of the technology race; we must be able to bridge our technology gap. No, not everyone has to send e-mail, blog, or blurt a series of expletives at Microsoft Word; but we must make sure the essentials are accessible to all those who want it. There are a few ways of doing that — first is inexpensive computer hardware and second is inexpensive Internet access and third is education on how to leverage those for simpler lives.
Would those people really subscribe to a paper if they understood RSS? Would they share their experiences golfing or their at least dissent of political figures in a blog, if they knew how? Would they possibly upload classic photo albums to a photo sharing Web site? Yes, I think so! The technology just needs to be made affordable and easy for everyone to use.
Asus made a dent into the market that wants an affordable, but usable device that can be used for the essentials for computing. For $499, a lightweight laptop should be a solution. Many have been able to get Linux to work on it, shaving an easy $100 off the price.
Yeah, I know I probably perpetuated a number of stereotypes in my aspirations to bridge the gap. Sorry, I didn’t mean any offense by it. I just want everyone to be able to use the web, and 20% is just too many folks for me to accept.
[Via CNET News Blog]