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» Social networking and the Digital Divide from Dissident
Interesting post by David Wilcox today about digital inclusion in the era of social networking. I have to admit to some concerns that there is an implied need to fully engage with the 'digital world' in order to be an [Read More]

Comments

Hi David

I definitely agree with your first point, that digital inclusion is social inclusion. Likewise I think there's evidence that digital exclusion (in terms of access to ICT) reinforces social exclusion. Inequal access to ICTs should be a concern, I think, but its not addressed quickly or easily. Access at a library or online centre is not the same as broadband at home and neither, I think, is red-button or mobile access (though I must admit to having little experience of either). And top down attempts to increase access usually fail, as explored at our recent NCVO/ESRC seminar on ICT and social capital (http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/publications/publication.asp?id=3385).

But, access is only one issue. Once you have access you need to know how to make the most of what's out there - and that comes down to skills, as you explain so well. Some term this 'media literacy'. When my colleagues and I write about digital divide/exclusion as a strategic driver for the voluntary sector we include issues around skills or literacy as key to that.

But you're absolutely right that its not just about our users/clients/beneficiaries, its also about our staff!

And thus, supporting global digital inclusion is important as well - through policy and more. Let's remember that at the next evolution of WSIS, shall we?

It is truly exciting that so many options in technology are available to connect with others through the internet and mobile phone networks. Can someone offer some insights into the improvement of infrastructure and lowering of prices for those who lack resources to access digital technology in isolated regions, for example, Central America...

Douglas - I would have said the Digital Divide Network http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Divide_Net was the place to look, but the central site is no longer operating. Andy Carvin was director, and his personal site has some links http://www.andycarvin.com/.

Thanks, David, I will definitely follow up on this. Doug

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