The internet has undoubtedly opened up the world for us, albeit in many different ways. It has allowed us to access more information than ever before and paved the way for tools that enhance almost every aspect of our lives. Think of the forums that forged communities of like-minded people, e-commerce platforms that created a whole new genre of business.
Unfortunately, harnessing the full potential of the internet is not always possible for some of us. A combination of culture, motivations and demographic background can affect our attitudes toward the internet and our interaction with it (Futurelearn, 2017). An undergraduate like myself is able to use the internet for research, while an elderly person might not see the value in this.
My Digital Difference
Below, I compare my key interactions with the internet with statistics from Ofcom and explain how my experience shaped these interactions.
Infographic created by Shanelle Chong
My environment has made me rely on the internet for many things. In Singapore, everything and everyone utilises the internet to a certain extent. It is so seamlessly integrated into my life that being a non-user is almost incomprehensible.
Bridging the Gap
It’s interesting to note that the most common reason for not using the internet is people finding it unnecessary (Adults’ media use and attitudes, 2017). In order to bridge the gap, communicating the value of the internet should come before teaching technical skills. Yet getting non-users to participate is not going to standardise interaction on the internet. Beyond access and attitudes, the internet is constantly attempting to personalise itself to the user’s behaviour. Think of Facebook’s newsfeed and Google’s search results.
The onus then falls on us, the user, to be motivated by the possibilities of the internet in order to break the bubble and fully utilise its potential.
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Adults’ media use and attitudes. (2017). [online] Ofcom. Available at: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/research-and-data/media-literacy-research/adults/adults-media-use-and-attitudes [Accessed 10 Nov. 2017].
Futurelearn (2017). Digital differences – inequalities and online practices.