Today’s Inequalities Online

Digital inequalities do exist in our current digital age. I was blown away when I read in Danah Boyd’s writing; that white people tweeted racist comments. I was unaware that people actually did this. My original thought was that digital inequality isn’t a big concern for I had not heard of people killing others over things online. Although, I have heard of teens killing themselves over cyber bullying therefore I say yes this is a real concern. No one has the right to belittle another person.

It was eye opening to see that we feel we are not racist, yet those we communicate with are mainly our racial community. Unknowingly we seem to purely participate with those that look like us. That does not mean that one wouldn’t communicate with a different race, just that it seems our main communication practices are with our own race.

I am not exposed to racist comments online for maybe it is because I am unknowingly in a racial circle. I must be unknowingly racist in that fact. Facebook also does not help. Since it sells my data to advertisers and then advertises my common interest I continue to be surrounded by those things that might set me apart from other races. Instead of showing me things I do not know about they continue to surround me in things I already know about. Almost doesn’t seem like a good marketing plan but it to works.

As I read Hargittai’s findings I found myself nodding my head. People learn what they learn based on what they surround themselves with. I am personally not tech savvy although I have learnt an absurd amount. According to Hargittai’s rules to experience I should know more than I do. I have been online since the beginning and I spend hours daily online, although mainly just checking my social media platforms. Therefore I disagree with Hargittai’s rule to value one’s online skills. My sister and I grew up with the same values both owning a laptop and having parents were one went to post-secondary. My sister plays daily in online gaming communities. Therefore she holds more online experience for she communicates with those that hold high skills in online performance. She holds more computer knowledge because her social circle is about playing online games. She communicates with loads of people that are very knowledgeable about computers. I do not believe race is a factor in this personal situation, I feel it is based on interest. Therefore I agree with Hargittai that, “Students with higher level know-how engage in more activities online than those who understand the Web less.” (p.109) Yet, my sister is not pursuing post secondary education and I am on my second round of post-secondary.

I agree there are inequalities with online learning. Although I do not feel it is racist I feel those that lack computer skills are left behind. People that know how to work the online class do not want to take the time to teach another. Therefore people like myself that are not the best academically, help those with that lack of computer skills in hopes they help us academically. I feel those that are computer savvy are the “higher class” and those not computer savvy are the “lower class.” People in the class could hold the same academic knowledge but those that know how to create amazing presentations will receive a better mark than those just learning and presenting a basic presentation. This I feel is an inequality based on computer skills in the online learning community. Inequalities exist all over the online community racist or not, judgment exists online.

References

boyd, danah. “ Inequality: Can Social Media Resolve Social Divisions? ” It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2014. 153-175.

Hargittai, Eszter. “Digital Na(t)ives? Variation in Internet Skills and Uses Among Members of the ‘Net Generation’.” Sociological Inquiry 80.1 (2010): 92-113. http://www.webuse.org/pdf/Hargittai-DigitalNativesSI2010.pdf

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