Week 3

One current issue relating to production disparity that I thought of while reading “The digital production gap: The digital divide and Web 2.0 collide” is the issue of content creators paying for promotions, followers, likes etc.—anything to increase their views and engagement with their content. Individuals with more disposable income are better able to have their content reach more popularity. An example of this is buying followers on Twitter or Instagram, or subscribers on YouTube. Additionally, individuals with more free time and technological skills are better able to spend time engaging on social media in meaningful ways that will expand the reach of their content.

Another topic I considered while reading about digital divide is analyzing which devices are being used by for internet use nowadays, and if there is a divide between what devices are used (and how they are used). Personally, I know many of my peers around my age (21) who mainly only use laptops for school or work, and rarely use or don’t even own desktop computers (the one exception I can think of to this is individuals with hobbies that require computer use, such as gaming or video production). Meanwhile, they use their phones for uses such as social media, ordering food, online dating, and watching videos. I would be interested in finding out if tablets lean more towards being used like a computer, or like a smartphone; my guess would be that tablets are used more like smartphones due to their app-based nature, but they also may be used for additional features such as reading books or watching movies/ shows due to the larger screen size. Additionally, I think it would be interesting to learn what factors (such as socioeconomic status or age) are relevant to who uses what devices, if this influences how they use their devices, and if this is related to digital inequalities.

The Scheerder article categorized internet skills into four groups: medium-related, content-related, safety and security, and general. One issue I thought about while reading this is wondering which category using apps would fall under. For example, it seems that use of the Facebook app would fall under content-related skills, since social skills are included in that category. However, a user must know how to search and install the app using their device’s app store.

With the exception of the article “Does Internet Use provide a deeper sense of political empowerment to the Less Educated?,” the rest of the studies are in the context of Western culture (either the United States, the UK, or Germany). The article “Digital Inequalities and why they matter” mentions global inequalities, specifically in Africa, but the United States is still referenced more heavily throughout the article. The social context that the digital production inequality is set in is reflective of Western, or more specifically, American life; the inequalities stemming from race, gender, and socioeconomic status, of course, going to vary in countries and cultures found all over the world. I think it would be worthwhile to study content creation/ production inequalities in other non-western countries and cultures throughout the world.

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