Throughout the class, we have learned about several areas around the world with different types of digital divides, and the different people digital divides affect. We have explored the logical, pathetic, and ethical appeals that relate to issues within the divides. The topic of identity markers was infused with the discussion of digital divides as well. However, my own perspective on the subjects was avoided as I researched and discussed. Now, I am able to express my feelings about each subject that we covered.
In the first unit, the question of access to technology around the world was discussed. In particular, I targeted the digital divide in Australia and in Madison, Wisconsin. In Australia, more than 4 million citizens are not online and are considered to be on the wrong side of the digital divide. Australians may be on the wrong side of the digital divide because social change is happening at a remarkable pace and scale and they are unable to keep up. Everything is being exchanged at an astonishing speed: conversations, ideas, and views. In Wisconsin, home computer ownership rose steeply, leading to the development of the digital divide. Digital divides are apparent in every city, state, and nation around the world. There are things that can be done about it, but it takes time and effort. Almost all of who are on the “right” side of the digital divide do not care about the ones who are on the “wrong” side. This made me think about how my access to technology has established my identity in terms of opportunity. I have had the privilege to have been exposed to technology at a very young age and was presented with different devices such as laptops, gaming stations, portable gaming devices, etc. Because of this, it seems my identity is one of many friendships, a very good education, a chance to gain jobs easier, and a hope that my competence with technology will strongly help me in the future.
The second unit we discussed in class was about identity markers. Class, race, and gender are all examples of identity markers that we incorporated into our discussions. To successfully come to a full understanding of identity markers, I studied Eric Stonestreet’s Twitter and Instagram accounts. Stonestreet’s identity on his social media accounts is very similar to his identity on Modern Family. Identity markers reflect how people present themselves on the web in relation to how they act in real life. Identities that people have online are often masks that people wear. On the web, I think it is clear that I am a white female. I think it is also clear that I come from an upper class family by pictures that I am tagged in on Facebook or the friends that I have. These identities often depend on the class, gender, and race that one belongs to. People from certain classes and races are known to use certain social media sites more than others. For example, it was pointed out that lower-class African-American’s use Twitter the most. Identities are just another way of showing the divide between people who use the Internet.
Consumption and production were two major topics discussed in the third unit. We evaluated factors such as what sites we access, how our privacy is compromised, and the ways that we protect our privacy. I found that on my social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook, advertisements on the side panels were for websites I had frequently accessed, making it clear that what I do while on the Internet is not and never will be completely private. The sites that I access the most are Twitter, Facebook, and several various online shopping sites. My privacy seems compromised when those advertisements are for sites I am on most often. I really do not do anything to protect my privacy online, but I feel that I should do more to change that. It seems that this invasion of privacy is companies taking advantage of the ones who are online, and tempting them to buy certain things and use certain services.