Keeping Tabs on the Digital Divide

The LinkAge

Media: Inclusive or Exclusive?

Photo by Rosaura Ochoa (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rosauraochoa/3256859352/)Photo by Rosaura Ochoa (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rosauraochoa/3256859352/)

What happened on the Hill today? Don’t know the answer to that? No problem, Google does. And Facebook. And Twitter. Receiving over 2,000,000 search inquiries per minute, Google’s claim on “information central” is running proof that the Internet provides the most up-to-date and expansive data collection around, and the growth rate shows no signs of slowing.

With each passing minute we see on average 571 new websites, 27,778 new blog posts, and 100,000 new tweets published. The amount and variety of content presented on the Internet is staggering. In the midst of this wealth of information, we see a transformation happening in news media. A recent study found that 75 percent of Americans say that the Internet helps them to feel better informed about national news, local news (62 percent), and international news (74 percent).

From podcast, to blogs, to Twitter’s social activism, the Internet has become a top source of news by engaging today’s fast-paced digital consumption and providing an open-access platform for both producing and receiving news. Digital news has become interactive in the way that advice columns and reader-submitted op-eds functioned in print media, however while these elements crack open the door for participatory news, today’s method kick it in.

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are providing opportunities for consumers that are changing the dynamics of how news is produced. A Pew Research Institute study found that half of social network users share or repost new stories, images, or videos while nearly as many (46 percent) discuss news issues or events on social network sites. Content creation is also on the rise, with 14 percent of users having posted an original video or news story.

These resources have not only opened networks to reach those who would not normally encounter such news, but have also given a voice to those who would otherwise risk being unheard. Stories are more easily told and spread across the globe, from the unique perspectives of citizens on the ground.

However, while the door is open, the pathway to access for many is shielded. Over 21 percent of Americans lack Internet access. In today’s society this is an essential tool in interacting with the public discourse. EveryoneOn is making sure that all American have access to the Internet and a platform to share their stories.


Amber Petty is the programs associate at EveryoneOn.