As a young, white male I am labeled as the stereotypical individual online in today’s society. Very involved online with social media, connected to various different means of information, and utilizing the Internet for academic and occupational uses, I am what most people think of when they picture who is sitting on the other end of things tapping away at a keyboard ⌨.
There are different divides that exist throughout the internet and I fall on the stereotypical side of each of them for the most part, but there are some differences. Some of the history behind the digital divide in terms of access, I haven’t always been on the fully immersed side of things. Growing up, I didn’t have my own laptop until I was entering high school and my parents felt as if I needed it for educational purposes. This doesn’t line up with many of my friends growing up, as they were always playing games and browsing social media and I always felt as if I wasn’t connected and missing out on a lot of potential things available on the internet. In addition, I didn’t get a smartphone until I was 15 years old.
This made me much less connected as I lacked the instant communication possibilities with data on a cell phone and also having unlimited information with the tap of a finger on a screen. Now, I am very connected in terms of the technology I have access to, but this wasn’t always the case for me as I was growing up and being on the other side of this divide really makes me more empathetic towards the lower socioeconomic groups that do not have home internet access 💗.
The gender divide online is one in which I fall so deep into the stereotype that I can’t get out. Every day my phone is filled with notifications from ESPN and Bleacher Report giving me the latest sports updates, I frequently read Reddit, and stay away from sites like Pinterest that are dominated by females 👩🦰. These things were never my intention as they are my interests offline as well, but after learning more about the digital divides that exist I feel as straight as an arrow when it comes to my presence online and see the strong divide between the digital print of men and women when it comes to the Internet.
A third divide that I can see myself not falling into the complete stereotype is that of race through what social media websites I utilize. I am on Twitter more than any other form of social media and this website is dominated by African Americans and other minorities. I tend to only get on Facebook when I am tagged in a photo by a friend or family member and spend most of my time on Twitter browsing the very diverse group of people I follow. I very rarely post on Twitter, and can see the dominant minority group on Twitter posting far more frequently compared to white friends I follow.
Overall, after learning about the digital divides that exist online throughout society I am able to see where I fall in. My interests mainly fall in line with the stereotypical white male, but I have some history in my childhood of being disconnected and gained empathy for the side of the divide is not connected.