The socially just internet. Oxymoron?

I am annoyed by the Internet and at the same time I am in lust.  Like a troublesome boyfriend, the Internet seems to be the answer to so many problems – everything you need a few clicks away.

Today, the rush to get ‘online’ for organizations may very well be the difference between failure versus legitimacy and future success.

The biggest problem I see is that for the portion of our population with limited or no access, the Internet is not an answer.

Technologically, there is and will continue to be a separation between those who have and those who do not, like there is with salary.  Each new innovation increases the knowledge gap that someone just becoming computer literate must leap.  It may be instinctual to someone who has been immersed with computer use their whole life, but what about the urban and rural poor that have not?  What about those who are older and just have never picked up the skill?  What about those who have no need to use a computer for their livelihood?  What is their right to have access to the same information?

Obama recognizes the need for transparency (BRAVO!!) with regards to the recovery work being done in America.  To answer this challenge the administration has posted the information regarding this transparency online.

However, how do US citizens who are not computer literate access the same information?

Is the Internet just another form of oppression?  This is a challenge that needs to be addressed.  How do we make information accessible?  Is a socially just Internet a potential reality?

I think a socially just Internet would look like something that used vacant storefronts to teach, entrepreneurs and volunteers to train passersby, engage the community and a general recognition that while some information should be available online we shouldn’t give up on the person to person connection that happens in a community.

What do you think?

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