Opportunity Costs

I know why the caged bird tweets

I know why the caged bird tweets

A bird sits inside of a cage waiting to be let out, but knows only what can be see through the barred windows of its cage. Once let out, the bird sees a world much more complex than it could have imagined. While no longer bound by the restraints of the cage, the bird is faced with dangers it never would have experienced otherwise.

The advent of the Internet, a mere decade before my birth, utterly changed the face of humanity as we know it, a notion I can only envision. Like a metaphoric utopia, the Internet emerged as a conception of a better life. We had no idea what this ethereal notion was, but we knew we wanted it. We still do not fully understand what these technologies mean, but we are still obsessed with them. Those who have lived through this shift, such as my parents, made the decision to jump on this technological bandwagon.

Although current computing technology is the most modern must-have in worldwide society, not everyone has access to these essential communication devices. As someone who uses the Internet for research, communication, and entertainment daily, I conceptually cannot understand what life would be like otherwise. I have experienced the development and experimental stages of technology and am amazed daily at how far we have come in so little time. While I do not like to admit it, I rely on the Internet and feel lost if it’s ever abruptly taken away. This intangible technological innovation envisioned by someone much more worthy than myself that I could never fully understand is the basis of so many of my relationships, life experiences, and decisions.

As a student at a premier research institution, computers are essential to everyday life at the University of Texas. I use my computer to do work in classes throughout the day, since it has Internet access, word processing capabilities, and access to communication. While I could technically complete schoolwork without these features, most courses require some sort of online interaction, while some are taught entirely online. I enjoy the flexibility that online classes provide and realize that completing work this way would not even be considered plausible in the past. Eventually, the technology we can’t imagine ourselves without in society will be obsolete. These everyday sundries that have become too familiar will be simple memories only acknowledged at the reminiscence of the past. Until this day comes, and it may not during my life, I will never know what its like to be below the digital divide.

Those who lack Internet access can be likened to the caged bird, each only controlling a small piece of a much larger world. The issue is not that of a skewed opportunity, but simply a control struggle that each victim cannot fight on their own. We should not limit our abilities to discern meaning by narrowing our horizons, though technology is an intrinsic facet of every day life. While responsibility lies in the hands of policymakers, those of us who utilize communication technologies, independent of reasoning, must acknowledge the realities of the digital divide.

3 thoughts on “Opportunity Costs

  1. Great metaphor using the bird in its cage! I truly enjoyed reading your take on technology and how our generation can not conceptually understand a world without it. Beautifully written!

  2. In order to enhance your paper even further, you may want to expand on how other developing countries experience technology use versus the United States. You mentioned briefly in your paper about being “below the digital divide.” By providing an example of a country who is indeed below the line will allow readers to visualize this better.

    The sentence, “those who lack Internet access can be likened to the caged bird, each only controlling a small piece of a much larger world” could be stronger by rhetorically comparing other countries to the caged bird. For example, you could rewrite the sentence by saying, “Developing countries are the caged birds of society…”

  3. First off, I really like your title. After reading your title, I read your post in an “economic” mindset, applying the cause and effect relationship of opportunity costs with regard to economics. Obviously this is not an economics paper, but reading it in that way was really cool, or at least it was to me.

    In regard to a rhetorical device, I would suggest using one in your very last sentence, specifically “…must acknowledge the realities of the digital divide.” I think this would actually be more than one rhetorical device, but I know for sure that it would be a metaphor in alluding to the bird cage. For instance, you could change the sentence to “must acknowledge the realities of [life both inside and out of the bird cage].” It is a metaphor, as well as an allusion (maybe?) in that you are alluding to the theme of the digital divide being representative of a bird cage. As Jake mentioned, this is a very Platonic element. I really like it.

    Your paper is very well written, and as far as amplification goes, maybe apply the bird cage to gender and race, that would surely lengthen your paper. All in all, great work!

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