My (Almost Correct) Presence Online

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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 💗.

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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.

4 thoughts on “My (Almost Correct) Presence Online

  1. I think it’s really interesting that you didn’t have a close relationship to technology until much later in your life. I feel like it gives you a different perspective when evaluating the digital divide since you’ve experienced various sides of it. So, maybe you could expand on some of the benefits and disadvantages of each side, if there are any you can think of. Looking at the differences between the two could guide your paper or bring some ideas out.

    As for things you could expand on, while you grew up, did you see others who had devices like phones and laptops that stirred a desire in you to have one as well? If so, do you think this could be a reason that you have a much larger connection to technology and the internet now? Also, If you remember, how did it feel to make the adjustment to using more and more technology in your life? Was it a big one? Or maybe did you feel like the transition was smooth because technology had developed to the point where it was easier to understand?

    Something else you could write about is looking at the reasons why you might not post that much on Twitter. Could it be because of how you grew up, or maybe it’s because you prefer to interact in person more? Also, you say you feel “straight as an arrow when it comes to my presence online.” How does that make you feel? This could lead into some ideas about our online identities and how we’re perceived online.

    Overall, I really like what you have so far! I hope some of these ideas can help later on.
    –SW

  2. I think your paper is interesting in that you start off with how you are the “stereotypical” person online, but then go into why this stereotype doesn’t fit you. In terms of things to expand on, you mention being more empathetic towards socioeconomic groups that don’t have internet at home, what other problems of theirs can you relate to, that you maybe experienced? Also when talking about the gender divide online, after learning more about it in class, are you more aware of the problem or did you always notice it? Which articles did we read in class that maybe opened your eyes to the gender divide?
    I hope this helps. -SS

  3. I like how you structured your paper around what people think you are to what you actually are, something a little more creative. I think one area that you could expand on is what is the greater importance of reflecting on these divides? How did you learn about yourself in these ways? In a broader context, is the digital divide stemming from the digital aspect itself or is it a larger societal issue? Adding this type of context might help to add extra layers to your paper and understand how the digital world influences you and how you in turn, influence the digital world. Also, because you touch on so many different divides, there’s an opportunity to pull from the different articles we read in the past unit. Just a thought to add. – BC

  4. This blog brings up interesting points on self-observation and being aware of your own presence online. I would definitely expand on your history of coming from a low socioeconomic background and possibly juxtapose how life is different from back then in regards to the digital divide. You touched on the idea, but I think it would be a good idea to expand on how that affected things like school or work or if you felt differently about being connected in the first place. Is it better now that you are so much connected? Were you connected in a different way back then?

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