The Digital Divide and Social Media
The idea of social media was introduced in the late 1970’s with Usernets and BBS’s (Bulletin Board Systems) and quickly progressed into the year 2000 with the current boom and popularity of social networking and media sharing sites. One cannot escape the modern world of Facebook friends, Youtube videos, Twitter updates, personal Flickr photos and thousands upon thousands of sites to encompass every hobby or interest that you might have.
But who is participating in today’s digital age of communication? Are we all one and the same when it comes partaking in social networking and media sharing? Based on recent finding we are not digital created equal. One’s race and ethnicity are associated with use of social networking sites but in most cases it is suggested that lack of use is a direct correlation with the lack of access. (Hargittai, 2008) If this is indeed true, what is the underlying cause to this digital divide and the inability to become involved in the world of social media? What is currently being doing the bridge this current gap and provide equal opportunity?
Statistics and Why
The term digital divide can easily be thought of as users and non-users in age of information technology. In focusing on race and ethnicity, users, are more often than not, predominately white and middle-class versus lower-income minorities’ that make up the faction of non-users. A recent survey conducted focused on the usage and familiarity of six social network sites among a population of students. The polled population was familiar with a variety of SNS (social network sites), showing 78.8% using Facebook and 99.4% having heard of the site. Looking at the most popular SNS, Facebook, the percentages then were divided into race and ethnicity. Native Americans showed the least usage at 1.1% and white, non-Hispanic the highest at 44.9%. Asian-American ranked 31.9% and Hispanic and African-American’s showed a SNS...