When looking at the digital world, I do not consider myself to be one of those tech savvy or computer–know-it-all kind of gals. I mean, if something is wrong, just turn it off and back on again. In the past, I thought I would be the next Julian Assange because I was able to design my layout page on MySpace. Now, coming to reality, my computer usage and knowledge is nothing far from ordinary. My Internet consumptions are for social media, shopping, school assignments, and Netflix. That is all I really do, just consume. In other words, I am a computer moocher. I hardly post a status on my feelings about the latest political drama, a picture of my daily food intake or a tweet a random thought.
My high Internet consumption, without the same amount of participation, even still I have been given an extreme amount of access and opportunities for a successful future. Reflecting on my past with the use of the Internet, I can see that it has provided me with so many benefits that the majority of people may never receive. The ability to go to college, apply for internships and earn a high school diploma is all thanks to the Internet. Welcome to the digital divide; if a student does not have a computer, Internet, or electricity, how can one apply to college? While computers and the Internet are used to help advance those who have it, those who do not are left behind. As if we are all playing a game of baseball. People who have access to the Internet automatically start at first base, while those who are digitally disconnected start the game at home, always a base behind.
Addressing how being online has separated me from other races, classes, and genders I can see that I pretty much fit the stereotype of a young, middle-class, white girl. My Internet use typically consists of Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest… Need I say more about fitting the stereotype? I have never been on Reddit or any gaming sites and out of all my social media apps Twitter is the least one used. Thus, giving me a separation from the male gender groups. To me, however, I do not see this as an issue. The things I find interesting are on the sites I use. Everyone has their sites they mooch off of according to their fascinations. My boyfriend tells me funny news articles on Reddit, while I show him new food recipes on Pintrest. We flock to the things we love and relate with, including the Internet sites and apps available, which is not always a bad thing.
Lastly, with all the sites I belong to on the Internet, my performance online is at a minimal. However, even within these sites I have still constructed an identity within the Internet world. Among the many ads, I see each day they are all skewed to my online persona. I see advertisements with the latest fashion releases at my favorite stores, a “must buy” boyfriend gift or even ads for my favorite restaurants. The Internet knows that I love to consume, and I will consume what it shows me to love. In the eyes of these companies, I am a food loving, online fashion shopping, and fan of TV drama female. Yes, this is true. However, the Internet does not show me ads for my religious beliefs, books I like to read, and my future goals that I hope to achieve. These are strong ethics that I would consider myself to have on a daily basis and have built my character as to who I am today. These are not viewed through the eyes of the advertisement companies. They are aware of my materialistic eye but not of my creditable ideological character.
As I claim myself to be an Internet moocher, this has divided me from some groups of people where there should not be a division. For those who live in homes with no electricity and computers are a foreign piece of plastic, I cannot connect to them. While at the same time, the male gamers and Reddit users, have also been divided from myself. A division like this is coming from personal consumption and our differing interests. I do not see a desperate need for fixation among the division between online consumers. However, a lot needs to be done with those who are unable to consume and with those consuming, and at times maybe too much. It is unjust to have a world where inequality stems from the digital divide. An unfair playing field is being set, and not everyone receives an equal chance of playing.