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Digital divide

2019-05-15 来源: 51due教员组 类别: Paper范文

下面为大家整理一篇优秀的paper代写范文- Digital divide,供大家参考学习,这篇论文讨论了数字鸿沟。在许多国家,数字鸿沟都标志着一种内在的鸿沟,一种思维、感知的鸿沟。数字鸿沟不仅指生活在同一个国家的不同群体之间的差距,也指生活在不同国家的人之间的差距。即使数字鸿沟可以逐渐缓解,但它仍然是极不可能的,互联网能够推翻社会分层的基本不等式,已普遍自从工业革命的终结。此外,在许多国家,他们在国内的数字鸿沟正导致认知鸿沟。

Digital divide,数字鸿沟,essay代写,paper代写,作业代写

‘In many countries the digital divide marks an inner divide, a divide of the mind, of perception, a social one in any event. Only in its virtual, odourless aspects does the world appear to be moving closer together, to be getting smaller- not in its messy ones.’ (Wiedemann 2004 cited in Hafez, 2013: 112). Critically assess this statement with particular reference to the role of globalisation in construction of a digital divide. Support your arguments with evidence taken media examples.

“In many countries the digital divide marks an inner divide, a divide of the mind, of perception, a social one in any event. Only in its virtual, odourless aspects does the world appear to be moving closer together, to be getting smaller - not in its messy ones.” (Wiedemann 2004 cited in Hafez, 2013: 112) In this essay, the author is going to closely analyse this statement by looking into the role that globalization plays in the development of the digital divide. “It is the hope of the optimists that the Internet will help to reduce the traditional gap between countries that have easy access to information and those who do not. They also hope that the Internet will help to reduce the disparities among different groups in terms of access to information. However, pessimists hold a completely opposite view. They think that rather than helping to reduce the current inequalities, the digital technologies will only add more unfairness to the situation.” (Norris, 2001: 26) From the author’s point of view, although digital divide is prevalent both home and abroad, globalization will help to alleviate the problem. The culprit between the digital divide among different nations lies in the different difficulties in getting access to the Internet. To be more specific, compared with people living in developing countries, it is usually easier for those in the industrialized nations to be connected to the Internet. With regards to the digital divide existing among different groups living in the same nation, it is common belief that the disparity is not only a technological problem, but also a social issue.

Globalization, the fuel behind all the large-scale exchange of cultures, people, commodities, politics, culture and information, has led to great social changes and helped to bring the world closer together. According to Tomlinson, globalization is a social process in which both time and space are compressed for the purpose of reducing the time taken to cross them, leading to a shrinkage of distances and by doing that, helps to reduce the distance between different groups and to make the world smaller. (Tomlinson 1999: 165) It is true that the Internet, as a medium, has facilitated and is going to continue to stimulate the globalization of technology and communication. For example, the Internet has revolutionized the way that people shop. Online shopping has enabled consumers to obtain direct access to commodities. Nowadays, customers can purchase items produced anywhere in the world from the international shopping websites on the Internet. TMall is a typical example of these new shopping websites. A website for B2C (business-to-consumer) retails, TMall allows businessmen from all around the world to sell their products to the customers in mainland China. With a few clicks of the mouse, buyers will be able to browse through as many product showcases as they want in this e-commerce website and to pick whatever they want. Items produced at home usually arrive within 5 days after the purchase, and it will take no longer than two weeks for customers to receive the products produced overseas. This means that it will only take someone living in China a short time to get access to commodities produced anywhere in the world. 

Also, the Internet can exert a huge influence on the culture around the world. According to Jenkins, communication technologies have made the global spread of media become possible.” (Jenkins et al 2013) Every day, millions of films, television shows, songs and digital media texts are flowing in the World Wide Web. For instance, YouTube is one of the most popular video-viewing websites. Millions of videos are being uploaded to the site every day, and the number of viewers for certain videos can even reach more than a billion. For example, Gangnam Style, the most popular dancing video in the year of 2012, has been viewed for more than 1 billion times. Another popular video, Despacito, has been viewed for nearly 3 billion times. (Telegraph Reporters, 2017) Although YouTube is an American video-sharing website, videos in the site are accessible to users from all over the world except the ones whose government has blocked it, and even with people living in these countries, they can still obtain access to the website by paying a small amount of fee each month. In other words, YouTube has provided a platform for people living in different countries to share things as well as to communicate with each other, enabling media to travel through borders.

However, globalization has also brought forth certain problems, among which the digital divide might be one of the most serious ones. The digital divide is defined as the differences in the difficulty that people living in different parts of the world have in accessing the Internet, and the gap between developed countries and developing countries is the biggest in this regard. Kai Hafez argued that “the term ‘digital divide’ describes the deficits in the development and use of information and communication technologies on a global scale, that is, when comparing highly industrialized and developing countries.” (Hafez, 2007: 106) More specifically, digital divide is a representation of the disparities in getting access to the Internet, the way that it is used, the quality of technical connections, the support from other people in the society, knowledge of strategies in researching for information, the capability to filter through different information as well as the different uses.”(DiMaggio, 2001: 310)

If we take a close look at the use of the Internet around the world, we will find that there are huge differences in terms of the difficulty in getting access to the Internet for people living in different regions around the world. In a report done on the global digital divide, the World Economic Forum indicated that 85% of Internet users were from industrialized countries, who only took up 15% of the world population. (World Economic Forum, 2002) Moreover, according to the Internet Penetration Rankings in 2017, United Arab Emirates was the first in terms of Internet penetration, with its Internet penetration rate reaching 99%. The country holding the second place is Iceland, whose Internet penetration rate was merely 1% lower than that of the United Arab Emirates. Norway, with 5,167, 573 Internet users, came in the third place. However, things in less developed countries are of drastic differences. For example, there were only 67,000 Internet users throughout the whole country of Eritrea, which equals to a 1% Internet penetration rate. The Internet penetration rate in Niger, standing at 2%, was also extremely low. The report shows that the majority of countries with a low Internet penetration rate are in Africa. (Kemp, 2017) These data has provided solid evidence for the existence of the digital divide. According to the UN Development Report, it is highly likely that benefits obtained from information technologies are going to make the gap between the wealthiest countries and nations that do not have enough resources, skills and infrastructure facilities to make bigger investments in the information industry become an even wider one. “This society of network is building two parallel communication systems: one for the people that have a decent income, literally connections as well as a nice education background, providing them with a huge amount of information in a rapid speed and a low cost; the other one for those who do not have connections and have no choice but to rely on information that is outdated. For people in this group, it will usually take them a great amount of time and money so as to get access to the Internet.” (Norris, 2001) Citizens who are living in developing countries, where the digital information technology is usually of a lower level, often find it much harder to get access to good education, online shopping websites or other entertainment and communication services provided on the Internet.

Fortunately, Facebook is now aiming to provide a solution to solve this problem. According to the news report, Facebook, together with six other companies in the technological field, have been cooperating on a project called Internet.org. The goal of the project is to provide access to the Internet for those who are still not linked to it. It is estimated that the number of people meeting this standard takes up approximately two-thirds of the world population. Along with the help provided by Facebook, MediaTek, Ericsson, Opera, Nokia, Samsung and Qualcomm are going to initiate a joint project, to exchange knowledge as well as to cooperate with both the government and the industry to stimulate the development of Internet connectivity via the application of mobile technology.” (Ribeiro, 2013) “The aim of Internet.org is to bring the Internet as well as all the benefits of being connected to the web to those who are still not enjoying these conveniences. Among all the projects under this initiative, there is one called Free Basics, which aims to provide useful services for people via their mobile devices. Targets of this project usually live in places where it will cost a great amount of money to surf the net, which is why participants of the project will not need to be connected to the web for getting access to the websites included in the program. In other words, they can access the websites without using any data. Content of the websites covers a wide range of fields including health, employment, local and international news as well as education. So far, the project has been introduced to 60 different nations in Latin America, Africa, Asia Pacific as well as the Middle East.” (Internet.org by Facebook) “This new project is going to focus on reducing the cost of obtaining access to the Internet by introducing in low-cost smart phones and by cooperating with mobile operators to deploy Internet connectivity in regions that are currently under-served” (Ribeiro, 2013)

Indeed, this project will be able to help to reduce the gap between rich-information countries and poor-information countries. By providing participants with the chance to get access to the Internet, the “Free Basics” project has brought benefits generated by this great invention to much more people. However, a great number of critics are now saying that the downsides of this project might overweight its upsides. Participants of the project, in their words, might be better off if they are left with no access to the Internet. Following are the arguments of these critics. First, they are afraid that this project might hurt the neutrality of the Internet. Sixty-five advocacy organizations have written an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg complaining about Internet.org. “Dear Mark Zuckerberg, we are afraid that your Internet.org project might be in violation with the principles of the neutrality of the Internet, posing threats to equal access to opportunities, freedom of speech, people’s privacy, security as well as innovative inventions.” (65 organizations, 2015) They do not think it justified for internet providers to block certain websites or to show more favors to other websites without a sound reason. Participants of the “Free Basics” project can only have free access to certain websites such as Wikipedia, AccuWeather, and Facebook. Second, McCarty criticized that “although it is true that Free Basics has made surfing the net become much more affordable for a large number of people, it still cannot help to alleviate the problems that these people are facing with education, content and infrastructure buildings.” (McCarty cited in Shearlaw, 2016) To illustrate, even though this project has allowed many people to get access to a certain number of websites for free, websites not included in the project will still charge for data. In other words, for those who cannot afford to get that much data, these websites will still remain to be inaccessible. Also, a great number of the free websites are in English, which means that participants who cannot speak or read in English still will not be able to get useful information from these English sites. Making this worse is the fact that a great number of the participants of the project might have never been taught how to surf the net when they were at school and as a result, they might not know how to make use of this project. This is why critics hold the view that as useful as “Free Basics” can be, it still cannot help to solve all of the problems that we are facing. Besides, some critics think that the Internet.org project is merely a way for these companies to attract more customers to pay for using the net. According to the Partnership Program, Once participants have gained a clear understanding of how to surf the net and have grown reliance on it, the companies are going to do the best that they can to help their partners to keep these new users - more than half of the participants of the Internet.org project have chosen to pay for data so as to get access to a greater number of websites within 30 days after joining the program.” (Internet.org by Facebook) As Mahesh Murthy said, the seemingly charitable Internet.org project is actually a means for these companies to lure the poor in under-developed countries or regions to purchase their service. The project itself is nothing but a cloaked proxy for the Facebook Economically Disadvantaged User Acquisition Department.’ (Murthy cited in Ingram, 2015) In a word, although the Internet.org project can help to reduce the digital gap between developed countries and developing countries, it is also a new approach that these companies have created to boost the sales of their service.

Other than the global digital divide, we are also facing a social digital divide in certain parts of the world. According to Norris, the digital divide, in essence, is a multidimensional phenomenon covering three very different aspects. The global divide is about the disparity of Internet access between developed countries and developing countries. The social divide refers to the differences in getting access to information between different groups in each country, and the third aspect is concerned with the online community. The democratic divide is a term invented to describe the differences between Internet users that use information and resources that they get from the Internet in public life and those who do not.” (Norris, 2001:4) It is more likely for people that have easy access to the Internet, and as a result, a larger amount of information, to have a broader horizon. However, as Hafez suggested, studies done by Michael Margolis and David Resnick in the United States, the country that is regarded as having the highest Internet use rate, indicate that the majority of Internet users in the country are either using the Internet as a tool to take care of their daily affairs or are using it for entertainment, and only the information elites are using the net as a source for information related to politics.” (Hafez, 2013: 111)

Also, compared with those who are merely using the Internet for entertainment, the chances of getting hired by companies are usually higher for the demographic that are using the Internet for obtaining useful career information or for career-related purposes. According to Hafez, even in the western world, the majority of Internet users either belong to the middle class, the population with a nice education background or groups that have their own business, and very often, these same people are also information elites.” For example, LinkedIn, a social website, positions itself as a platform mainly for business transactions and employment. A large number of employers will pose recruitment information on this website every day, and we can also see many job seekers posing their resumes on the site. Among all the different groups, LinkedIn is the most popular among adults that are between 18 and 55, especially college graduates and those that have a comparatively high income. According to the research conducted on the demographics of users of the social media by Andrew Perrin, Shannon Greenwood and Maeve Duggan, 29% of those who are using the Internet are also using LinkedIn, which takes up a quarter of American adults. Also, half of the college graduates that are using the net are LinkedIn users, and 35% of the full-time employees in the country are a member of the website. What’s more, 45% of the LinkedIn users over the age of 18 have an annual household income exceeding $75,000.” (Greenwood, Perrin, and Duggan, 2016) To a large extent, the digital divide is gradually becoming a mind divide. To illustrate, when it comes to getting a job, people that have easier access to information usually have more edges than the ones that find it hard to obtain career-related information. The academic term for this divide is Tower of Babel, which can even lead to the expansion of the gap between the Net elites. The real winners in globalization are the ones that excel in using the contemporary technologies to achieve effective communication as they are the ones that have obtained the biggest financial benefit from this process. (Hafez. 2013: 111)

In conclusion, digital divide does not only refer to the gap between different groups living in the same country but also the disparity between people living in different nations. Compared with those living in developing countries, people in industrialized countries usually find it much easier to get access to the Internet, and although some large technological companies are making the effort to reduce this gap, what they are doing might just be a disguise for earning more money for their own as getting more people connected to the net can also help them to boost their sales. As Norris said, just as it is going to be extremely hard for us to eliminate world poverty, even if the digital divide can be alleviated gradually, it is still highly unlikely that the Internet will be able to overturn the fundamental inequalities of social stratification, which have been prevalent ever since the end of the industrial revolutions.” (Norris, 2001: 17) Also, in a large number of countries, the digital divide they have at home are leading to a perception divide. People that have little access to the Internet find it extremely hard to enjoy the benefits brought by this great invention. With all that said, globalization, to some degree, still has played a role in reducing the gap between rich-information regions and their poor-information counterparts. 

Bibliographies:

DiMaggio. P.; Hargittai, E.; Neuman, W. R. & Robinson, J. P. (2001). Social Implications of the Internet, in “Annual Review of Sociology”, vol. 27, pp. 207-336.

Hafez. K. (2007) ‘The Internet- the Information Revolution Which Came Too Late for the ‘Third Wave of Democratization’ in The Myth of Media Globalization. Cambridge; Malden, MA: Polity Press.

Jenkins, H., S. Ford & J. Green (2013) Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture, New York: New York University Press.

Norris, P. (2001) Digital divide: civic engagement, information poverty, and the Internet worldwide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tomlinson, J. (1999) Globalization and Culture, Chicago: Chicago University Press

Telegraph Reporters (2017) ‘Top 10 most watched YouTube video of all time’. The Telegraph [online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/0/most-watched-youtube-videos-of-all-time/ (Accessed: 9 December 2017)

World Economic Forum. (2002). Annual report of the global digital divide initiative. Geneva: World Economic Forum.

Kemp, S. (2017) Digital in 2017: Global Overview. Available at: https://wearesocial.com/special-reports/digital-in-2017-global-overview (Accessed: 9 December 2017)

Ribeiro, J. (2013) Facebook, six other tech companies launch partnership to bridge the digital divide: The partnership aims to connect the two-thirds of the world that are not connected to the Internet Available at: https://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/524301/facebook_six_other_tech_companies_launch_partnership_bridge_digital_divide/ (Accessed: 9 December 2017)

Internet.org by Facebook, (no date) Our Mission, Our Approach and Our Impact. Available at: https://info.internet.org/en/ (Accessed: 9 December 2017)

65 organisations (18MillionRising.org – US, Access – Global, Ageia Densi Colombia – Colombia, Baaroo Foundation – Netherlands, Bits of Freedom – Netherlands, Center for Media Justice – US, Centre Africain D'Echange Culturel (CAFEC) - Democratic Republic of Congo, Coding Rights – Brazil, Coletivo Intervozes – Brazil, Colnodo – Colombia, ColorofChange.org – US, Community Informatics Network – Global, Data Roads Foundation – Global, Digital Rights Foundation – Pakistan, Digitale Gesellschaft – Germany, European Digital Rights (EDRi) – EU, Fight for the Future – US, Förderverein freie Netzwerke e.V. freifunk.net – Germany, Free Press Unlimited – EU, Fundacion Karisma – Colombia, Fundacion para la Libertad de Prensa – Colombia, Future of Music Coalition – US, Global Voices Advocacy – Global, Greenhost – Netherlands, i freedom Uganda – Uganda, ICT Watch - Indonesia – Indonesia, Initiative für Netzfreiheit – Austria, Instituto Bem Estar Brasil – Brazil, Instituto Beta para Internet e Democracia - IBIDEM – Brazil, Instituto NUPEF – Brazil, Integrating Livelihoods through Communication Information Technology for Africa – Uganda, International Modern Media Institute – Iceland, Internet Policy Observatory Pakistan – Pakistan, IPANDETEC – Panama, IT for Change – India, IT-Pol Denmark – Denmark, Just Associates Southern Africa – Africa, KICTANet – Kenya, Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet - South Korea, Media Alliance – US, Media Matters for Democracy (Pakistan) – Pakistan, Media Mobilizing Project – US, MediaNama – India, Movimento Mega – Brazil, Open Wireless Network of Slovenia – Slovenia, OpenMedia – Global, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria – Nigeria, Popular Resistance – US, Protege Qv – Cameroon, Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales (R3D) – Mexico, RedPaTodos – Colombia, RIght 2 Know Campaign - South Africa, RootsAction.org – US, Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) – Canada, SavetheInternet.in – India, Savvy System Designs – US, Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network/Safenet - Southeast Asia, TEDIC – Paraguay, The Agency League of Musicians – US, The Heliopolis Institute – Egypt, The Media Consortium – US, Unwanted Witness – Uganda, Usuarios Digitales – Ecuador, Vrijschrift – Netherlands, WITNESS – Global, xnet – Spain, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum - Zimbabwe), (2015) Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg Regarding Internet.org, Net Neutrality, Privacy, and Security. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/notes/access-now/open-letter-to-mark-zuckerberg-regarding-internetorg-net-neutrality-privacy-and-/935857379791271/ (Accessed: 9 December 2017)

Shearlaw, M. (2016) ‘Facebook lures Africa with free internet - but what is the hidden cost?’. The Guardian. [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/01/facebook-free-basics-internet-africa-mark-zuckerberg (Accessed: 9 December 2017)

Ingram, M. (2015) Is Facebook's Internet.org project a charitable effort or a customer acquisition strategy? Available at: http://fortune.com/2015/05/20/facebook-internet-org/ (Accessed: 9 December 2017)

Greenwood, S.; Perrin, A.; and Duggan, M. (2016) Social Media Update 2016:

Facebook usage and engagement is on the rise, while adoption of other platforms holds steady. Available at: http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/ (Accessed: 9 December 2017)

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