How many people do you believe have used email? If you had to give a percentage off the top of your head of US citizens that you believe have used email, what would you say? According to a survey, about 20% of US heads-of-household have never sent an email. About 18% (20 million) of households don’t have Internet access. Approximately 30% of people have never used a computer to create a document. Wow. I had no idea! I wonder why Internet access isn’t considered almost like a public utility of sorts. Think about it. We have access to the public library, and there are computers there. We have the ability to grab television and radio broadcast signals over the air. We have water and trash services that we pay for as a standard. It just seems like it would be a detriment to any household not to have Internet access today.
If we look at Technology as an enabler, rather than a cost, we may be able to get further ahead as a society. This is what I suggest to people when they ask me about Broadband options. I always recommend that people get online to save money. Imagine saving a portion of your monthly bills. When you start buying things online, you’re no longer confined to the selection on your local store shelves. You can save serious amounts of money on goods this way. You’ll save time, by shopping online or even just to communicate in general. Everything boils down to a cost. What is your time worth?
I look at text messaging in the same way. I could pick up the phone and call someone. What if I just get sent straight to their voice mail? To me, it’s more convenient and time-saving to just send a text message much of the time. I look at paying for that unlimited texting service as a cost of convenience, and of communication. The less communication options I have, the more I feel like I’m just not connected.
If you don’t embrace a new way of communicating because you can’t, that’s one thing. If you don’t embrace it because you won’t: That’s something else entirely. Technology is becoming increasingly pervasive. Email is anywhere and everywhere, literally. It has its downfalls, certainly. That doesn’t keep me from recommending it to literally everyone.
What do you think about all this? Do you think this much of a digital divide should exist, between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’? Is a computer and Internet access so difficult to get? Or, is this more of a fear that people may have? Send me an email to [email protected], or leave me a follow-up comment on this post and let’s hear your thoughts.
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