The writing and research of the two blog posts have alerted me entirely to the notion of digital differences. Before this topic, I was somewhat blind to the idea that the web – as an interface – is less accessible to even those right around me, and that even those with similar accessibility to me can be affected differently. Gender, religion, sexuality and more change the lens with which one views the internet.
As several comments on my own post have shown, I focussed heavily on socio-cultural elements of digital difference. Reading both Luke and Emily’s blogs highlighted to me the various macroscopic and microscopic elements of the topic. Macro political, economic or cultural issues can be more affecting of national and international digital divides. My comment on Emily’s post underscored, however, that digital communities are often measured not by proportion, but by volume: it would be simple to correlate the mass of internet users in China and India with their economic growth, but their neither nation has more than 54% of citizens active online.
Further research and thought from Emily’s replies also outlined the importance of infrastructure to minimising digital differences – limited, but universal, access to internet is far superior to great, but restricted, access to the web.
My debate with Luke as to the validity of making ‘high-speed internet’ a ‘human right’ reinforces, however, the sensitivity of my own arguments. By making high-speed internet a human right, access to such must be available to all. To have that for those disabled means massive investment into internet usability.
Research and reflection on this topic has mostly taught me that digital differences, above anything else, are markers of a modern nation’s infrastructural and social stability. The less the divide, the better the access and people’s tolerance of others.
Read my comment on Luke’s post.
Read my comment on Emily’s post.