After doing some research on the digital divide, I’ve found that, although there are numerous blog posts and scholarly articles discussing the issue, there are relatively few blogs and websites dedicated to it. The few that exist, such as Digital Divide Institute, focus primarily on alleviating the gap between those who have access to broadband services and those who do not. The ones who have blogs largely haven’t updated them with any consistency. However, rather than focus on the dearth of online attention being paid to the digital divide, I see opportunities to increase the effects of past and ongoing efforts.
Use a combined research method and showcase results
As mentioned before, there are several blog posts, papers, discussions, videos, games, and scholarly and peer-reviewed articles that specifically address the causes, effects, and possible remedies for the digital divide. Some take an economic perspective while some see it as a social justice issue, while still others take the perspective that it’s all about infrastructure. I have not yet found anything that takes a systems approach to analyzing the problem. By compiling these articles and links and putting them in one place, one can build a Primer to the Digital Divide with varied perspectives and forms of media (Expect to see a post like this coming soon from me). Other primary research such as interviews, and secondary research such as codifying magazine references, along with other research methods can provide invaluable information upon which people can act.
Collaborate with the people already working on the issue
As activists, we often love to reinvent the wheel. It makes sense that we do so—it’s how we often approach issues. We see a problem. We ask why. We move into action. However, rather than build an all-new website, performing all the research, and writing enough content to fill a new blog, I could instead write guest blog posts for each of the organizations already working on the digital divide, or help develop a collaborative program with other organizations such as Center for Media Justice and MAG-Net (Media Action Grassroots Network).
I won’t dedicate much time providing website data for each website I found, but rather give you a few general observations.
- The audience is primarily female
- The audience is primarily between the ages of 24-34
- These blogs and websites are not very well traveled
- The use of mixed media is surprisingly lacking from many of the sites (Center for Media Justice is an exception).