Who Faces Digital Inequality?

“Digital equality means bringing the world of access and opportunity to every person, no matter where they live.” – Melissa Greene 

Digital inequalities exists among all ages, races, and genders in society.

In Digital Inequalities And Why They Matter, by Robinson et al, this information is presented categorically.

First, age.

As technology continues to evolve, usage is also spreading to younger generations. In today’s society, it is not uncommon to see a child using some form of technology. Parents share information about their families on their social media accounts as a way to stay connected with their friends, and distant relatives. However, depending on a number of different variables, not all families have the same access to certain technologies.

child-using-cell-phone

source: google

Socioeconomic status plays a major role in digital engagement. Individuals faced with economic disadvantages tend to have limited access to resources. Children who grow up deprived of digital use have a harder time in school and struggle later in life when applying for jobs.

The level of digital skills an individual acquires can either be detrimental or advantageous when it comes to entering the work force. Some jobs require experience and knowledge of different programs and devices necessary for particular jobs.

Next, gender.

2000px-Venus_symbol.svg

source: google

Studies have shown that women have a lower frequency of use, lower intensity of use, and weaker internet skills compared to men. Over the years as technology has advanced, women have been filling the gap between male vs female digital use.

Recent studies have shown that men are more likely to have jobs that involve technology. Also, women are more likely to use technology for communication and social support due to underestimating their skills when they compare themselves to men.

Finally, race and ethnicity.

Studies have shown that disadvantaged minorities in the United States have less social capitol and smaller networks. On a global perspective, digital inequalities come from the division between the Global North and Global South. For example, only 3% of the world’s internet users live in Africa.

 

 

User Experience & Self Branding

You are young. You consider yourself “tech-savvy”. You have known how to surf the web your whole life. But then something happens. You come across this blog that is so appealing you cannot help but wonder what you’ll find if you choose to interact. So you open the blog. But for the first time in your life… you have no clue how to search through the blog because it is an unorganized, chaotic mess of what could have been a work of art.

Ok. The example given may or may not be slightly outrageous but the concept that it portrays is user experience, which is just a fancy way of saying “user-friendly”.  User experience is SO important when it comes to getting your audience engaged in your website or blog. User experience refers to the interactions your audience has with your product.

For example:

  • Does your audience enjoy browsing through your site?
  • Is it easy to navigate?
  • Is it simple or difficult to use?

 

The next concept that plays a key role in the design and layout of your blog or website is self branding. Self branding allows you to establish what you stand for. In “The Art Of Self Branding”, written by Nur Costa, there is a beautiful quote about self branding I would like to share.

“Someone is going to be looking for that essence, and that something will be able to give it to him/her.”

Costa establishes 10 actions towards good self branding:

  1. Celebrate your singularity and conduct a self-branding auditing
  2. Overview control
  3. Do not avoid competence
  4. Find the sweet spot
  5. Take advantage of the self-introduction power
  6. Take advantage of the power of words
  7. Think big
  8. Expand your networking and visibility
  9. Put in action your personal branding plan
  10. Stay relevant

 

 

 

The Evolution of Journalism.

Journalism for a Digital Age | Brian Carroll

 

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! SOCIAL MEDIA TAKES OVER!

As technology continues to evolve, news continues to stray away from print and expand throughout media. More and more people are accessing social media and online sources to get their news rather than reading newspapers. Could we be approaching the end of the newspaper?!

Our generation is becoming increasingly dependent on gathering news from media sources. As experienced social media users, we are more actively involved in sharing and commenting about what we read. Twitter, for example, allows people to be highly interactive by liking, retweeting, or responding to tweets. The controversy behind these sources is demonstrated when crowd-sourced news is mistaken.

Public or Private? Most digital spaces allow users to decide what can be viewed publicly and what should be kept private. Online news sources decided to allow readers to individually turn off comments in response to news articles they find “cruel, vile, or vicious”. Other news sites are beginning to disallow anonymity as well.

twitter_news_source

Source: Twitter

Story Time! | Brian Carroll & Lynda Felder

Everyone loves a good story, right? How could you not? Lynda Felder in her book “Writing for the Web” lists all the main components of a good story:

  • characters
  • conflict
  • place
  • plot
  • premise
  • backstory
  • theme
  • tone

The question is: How do we start? Most people try to begin writing their story from the beginning when in fact, it is easier to begin smack dab in the middle. Starting from the middle allows the rest of the story to blossom and shape itself around the climax.

When it comes to writing for digital media, it is important to keep in mind that readers do not always finish the story (FYI our generation’s attention spans are dwindling by the minute) so try to incorporate as much important information towards the beginning of the story as possible to keep the reader engaged.

Begin with a hook. Draw in your readers; make them want more! Creating a sense of curiosity in your readers is key.

 

 

Back to the basics.

Edit everything. As nagging as it can be, it is SO important! Editing shows how dedicated the writer is to their work. It entails fixing grammatical or spelling errors, making sure the words you wrote down actually make sense, and even rewriting entire sections of your blog. Like Brian Carroll says, “Editing is mostly about making choices and decisions – lots and lots of decisions.” You have to be picky. Decide what works and what doesn’t.

Identify your audience. This strategy is by far, one of the most important of them all. A good writer needs to have a clear understanding of who his/her audience is in order to get the message across appropriately. Once you identify your audience, you need to determine how your audience wants to interact with your content.

Blog_Headline_Writing_Tips1

source: Google

HEADLINES! They’re all about excitement. Headlines are meant to catch your attention and make you want to dive in and read more, however, they still need to be direct, clear, and straightforward. It is important to maintain a balance between a logical headline and a fun headline. A well-written headline will summarize the content and give it visual identity, but most importantly, it will be simple. Brian Carroll provides two basic steps to compose a headline: “Determine what to highlight and decide how to phrase it given the limitations on space.”

Search engine optimization (SEO). This is just a fancy way of saying #hashtag. SEOs use key words, looking especially in headlines. The better the key words, the higher your content ranks in search results. Keep in mind: proper nouns make the best key words.

Include links for your readers to browse. There are different types of links, but they all determine where the reader goes when clicked. Some links connect to sites separate from the site or onto a new page and some take the reader to another post within the same page. Ugh, more decisions.

Writing techniques. Lynda Felder suggests tips and tricks for being a skilled writer on the web. She explains when it is appropriate to use certain punctuation, how to format paragraphs, maintain simplicity, and show your attitude. I incorporated some of these tips into this very blog post.