Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Digitally Divided

Right now my home is 5000 miles from where it has been for the last dozen years, but technology keeps me up with everyone and everything. I have a Skype number that has a 202 prefix and rings on my computer wherever in the world I decide to go. I even do a little freelance work here from Buenos Aires for folks in DC. It’s kind of like shipping jobs off to India – my hourly rates are a little lower and I am a highly skilled worker who speaks English.

Wandering here, but the point is that technology allows us to be connected like never before – the world has become a small place.

I had a crazy incident last week that reminded me just how small the world actually is. On Facebook, a friend in DC (who is Argentine, but I met him in DC) tagged me in a photo. That’s odd, I thought, I have been living here and have not seen him in ages. When I clicked through to the photo, yep, there I am hanging on the edge of a photo of a group in line to see Madonna.

I was in line next to his Argentine friends at the Madonna show!

Now that’s globalization, baby.

Cool, yes. But I, along with my friend and his friend are the lucky ones. We have access to technology, we can afford computers and are on a different side of the digital divide. In Latin America, just a quarter of the population is online. In North America? Nearly 75 percent. In Africa, just 5 percent. Whoa, yo. (Note: This is from 2000, but I expect the divide is still pretty huge.)

Just imagine a life without that little box in front of you, that’s reality for most people. I know I’d miss ya.

1 comment:

Tammy Gordon said...

on the flip side, i just saw a report that 50% of 5 year olds in sweden are online.