Inside the Divide

After reading and researching about the digital divide, I have to say I don’t have it that bad. I got a new laptop I bought about a month ago and I have a smartphone. If my laptop and phone were to break, I could walk down to my university’s library and user their computers. Being a student has its perks. I’m usually eligible for student discounts and I (allegedly) get “free” Wi-Fi whenever I’m on campus. I’m taking a programming class and am therefore required that I have a computer to my disposal. Even in this class, I must have access to the internet to complete my tweet assignments and research papers. Education is adapting technology into its methods and as a result students have been given the responsibility to get access to a computer. I have the internet at my disposal any day of the week whether it be at home or at school. Accessibility is not an issue for me, especially living in Austin, a technology adapting city. My only complaint is that I’m forced to get service from Time Warner.

Even though I have all this technological access, I’ve always been a lurker online. The idea of making my personal life visible to others online has always made me anxious. However, I’m perfectly fine looking through the personal lives of others. My issue with combining my personal life and the internet is that I feel the pressure to be somebody else, somebody exciting, spontaneous, and full of life. Nobody on Facebook wants to know that I ate a bowl of lucky charms today. Nonetheless, the pressure of having online personas has always seemed a bit self-deprecating. Additionally, it makes it way too easy for people to creep on your life. Why are people so quick to put details of their intimate life online? However, I do often reddit against my own good will. Reddit can be horrible and sexist place. I’ll admit that sometimes I’ve been overwhelmed by the dominating male presence and annoyed by the plethora of boob comments on reddit. That’s not to say that reddit is strictly a misogynist place, although it is much more prevalent; there are also subreddits belittling males.  There is an obvious gender divide demonstrated by subreddits such as r/TheBluePill and r/TheRedPill, which both promote gender focused hatred. Why do I still keep going back to reddit if it’s so awful? It’s not all bad. Some subreddits are very welcoming and the diversity of reddit makes it impossible to not find a subreddit you like. There are still some places on the internet where I feel comfortable.

As far as my technological proficiency…well, I’m not great with computers, but I’m also not completely hopeless. Despite being part of the “Net Generation”, I often find myself just not getting technology. My six-year old nephew can use a tablet much more easily than I do. These past few years I’ve been growing alongside with technology, but I wasn’t born into all this great technological innovation like my nephew. I remember the first dinosaur-sized computer I had at home and dial-up internet. My mom would limit my internet usage because she was afraid we’d miss any important phone calls. Nonetheless, I feel as though I’m expected to be tech savvy because I was born into this generation, but technology overwhelms me. It’s not rare that I often find myself in front of my computer utterly bored when I have admission to various resources. Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with all this access technology gives us. I have the access to technology and a decent amount of knowledge to use it, but even I sometimes feel like I’m falling behind these rapid technological advancements.

This post was written by a student, and has been left unedited by the admin, with the exception of any hyperlinks.

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