I’m sure many of you have heard the term “digital divide.” It refers to the growing divide between Americans with access to the internet and its vast resources and those without. For several years now, researchers and analysts have been concerned that this divide is leaving behind Americans, especially the younger Americans attending schools and living in communities with limited (if any) Internet connectedness. This is a huge problem, and something that as a serious nerd (I love technology, sorry I’m not sorry), I’m very VERY concerned about.
But an interesting new spin on the digital divide is the social networking divide. Think of how many times you missed something because it was an event or a page on Facebook either you somehow were not aware of, or even worse (it’s happened to us all), you were deliberately uninvited to. This can be a seriously dramatic trauma for some- imagine finding out about a public event your boyfriend is hosting that he neglected to invite you to.
But on a less selfish, and more worldly note, think about all that Facebook has organized and coordinated. I talked earlier about Egypt and how the revolution there depending on social networking to organize protestors more effectively. Some people are even planning whole weddings on Facebook these days. I know in my personal experience, before Google Docs started rocking my world Facebook was a very easy means of organizing and communicating group projects. It was always so simple- everyone has a Facebook right?
A recent survey suggests that the new divide is between avid users who are beginning to be less and less concerned about privacy, and those who continue to grow more and more concerned about privacy. Researchers continue to search for the elusive explanation to the consumer’s demand for privacy, when it seems as though the consumer does not regularly shun products or services which are clear invasions. Take loyalty consumer cards, for instance. It’s not a coincidence that my mother’s Kroger card never gives her dog food coupons, only cat food coupons.
If you have followed my advice, sought out your own recommendations, learned about all the features you can use on Facebook to hide yourself from unwanted viewers and spamming, then you are capable of having the ideal privacy situation while still enjoying the perks of staying in the social loop.
You can read more about the studies at this site, but for now think about this:
Facebook knows I am a 21-year old female, born on December 6, 1989, and my email. So does Kroger,Ulta, Walmart, GAP and it’s affiliates, Forever 21, Amazon, eBay, Twitter, WordPress, iTunes, Pandora, and countless other online services. And also almost anyone who meets me.
So what’s the big deal?