The Digital Divide

Last week for discussion, we as a class discussed the effects of there being a digital divide present amongst different societies. The distinct difference in information accessibility between different countries has created a barrier between societies when it comes to information knowledge. A question that was posed by one of the discussion leaders was, does the U.S.A. for example have a duty to aid other countries in the development of information accessibility? Most of the class was in agreement that it was not the U.S.A.’s duty to help, but that there were benefits to helping other countries. The process of helping some society develop is an expensive one, but with that amount of resources comes influence. Other countries are going to be more willing to allow foreign countries to influence their daily actions if that country is significantly impacting the inner workings of their society. Another question was posed about how would we be able to detect what certain countries were spending their time looking up if there was no digital divide. One of the ways I proposed was looking at the infrastructure of the society. For example, if the country of Sudan has an advanced sanitation system one would be able to infer that that is what they spent a majority of their time looking up and developing. Another topic brought up in class was how women are at a massive disadvantage in foreign societies when it comes to access to information, and even societies as a whole when under certain governmental regimes. This gender, and these people living under these regimes are given either little or no access to certain information that may be detrimental to gender roles or how society is set up.

Digital History and it’s future

Our discussion for the week of November 17th was on digital history and it’s future. The readings the discussion leaders (me being a part of the discussion team) chose to explain digital history focused on the rise and development of private and public databases. During our discussion we were only able to graze over the differences between the two, and differentiate the positive and negative aspects of each. I found it profound that access to private databases carries the perception that all sources available have more academic integrity than those provided on a public database. This sense of added academic integrity to sources is supposed to make up for the difficulty in actually finding sources for specific topics when using private databases. However, if you type any topic into Google, one gets thousands of results instantaneously. The adverse consequence of having such an abundance of different types of sources is that it calls for an increased awareness to the level of credibility each source contains. Public databases allow you to see the “good” and “bad” representations other people have attempted at representing whatever the topic is. This is where I found the dilemma between private and public databases to be interesting. It can be hard to find sources for a specific topic sometimes on private databases such as JSTOR or Academic Search Complete, so most people resort to public databases to get at least a sense of what has been written on their topic. However, not in all cases, but a majority, with the switch from a private to a public database comes the loss of credibility with sources. As I stated earlier, with public databases the user is allowed to see the “good” and “bad” representations of what has been written on their topic, so they are called to critique their sources more rigorously than if they had found the source on a private database. I call it the “Big Trade Off”. You trade in some credibility for the access to more sources.

One’s Digital Identity

This past week we discussed the difference between one’s personal identity and digital identity. Someone’s personal and digital identity are very intertwined, sharing many of the same characteristics, but there is more room for interpretation in the realm of digital identity. We talked for instance about are individual identites and what we found when we did a Google search of our name. In many cases we were able to find other people in the world with similar names to ours living completely different lives. The issue of being characterized by a digital identity for example during an interview process was brought up and if it was fair or not. In today’s society, using the interview process as my example, jobs look at one’s digital identity and can use it to either inhibit or prohibit them during the hiring process. One example a classmate brought up was how when she looked up her name she also found that the name was linked to someone else who had a troubled past with the authorities. This led to the conclusion that when it comes to the creation of our digital identity it may be helpful to not only raise your guard when it comes to sharing particular information, but also that it may be helpful to make your digital identity as distinct as possible, such as adding your middle name into your digital identity. Another major topic discussed in connection to our digital identities was the right to be forgotten. In the past before the advancement of the Web, it was easier to hide your past transgressions and not have them affect you in the future. However, with the advancement of the Web came to ability to retain all sorts of information for an undeterminable amount of time. Something someone does when they’re 18 can haunt them into there 40’s because with the internet everything can be easily retained and pulled up at any given time. This called for us as a class to define the line between the right to be forgotten and the right to have an informed public. An example I brought up in class was do sexual predators have the right to be forgotten? There was a clear consensus that the answer to that question was No, but yet we made a clear distinction between actions of that nature and lesser actions such as being arrested for disorderly conduct or being drunk in public. Due to the latter typically being youthful transgressions we were more lenient to allow them to have those actions be forgotten, but when it came to sexual predators there actions disqualified them for being “forgotten”. The internet allows for the public to be informed in so many different areas of society, but it also is a double-edged sword in the way that ALL fall into these guidelines and in today’s day and age it is hard to be forgotten once your information is posted to the Web.

Propoganda Sources and Reaction


Reaction: For our propaganda campaign myself and Eric wanted to provide a campaign filled with popular images, such as popular memes on social media and also cartoon strips either making fun or describing aspects of the gun control debate. Visual images provide a different outlet for people to react to certain topics than hearing an audio recording. Images allow for the audience to come to their own conclusion on a topic rather than being told specifically what is what. Even though our campaign is anti-gun control and is specifically aimed at conveying that message, the images used can still theoretically push others to the pro side of gun control due to the nature of them.