Thursday, January 17, 2013

Community Response to the Digital Divide

       The topic of discussion in part four of the Philadelphia Innovators series was Open Data Philly & Bridging the Digital Divide, which was presented on an hour radio program, Radio Times. Some of the program’s topics were about residents having open access to data about their community area and the city’s governing tactics. These topics also acknowledged that digital technology has altered the processing of information for social needs and included Philadelphia’s community resource efforts to bridge the digital divide.
            Keyspots Powered by the Freedom Rings Partnership offers web access and training in computer classes. As of November 2012 there are 76 Keyspots across Philadelphia.[1] The Radio Times program acknowledges that 41% to 50% of Philadelphia citizens do not have internet access.
            The structure of the Philadelphia Keyspots program is organized differently than the Google Fibers program offered in Kansas City, Missouri, which I refer to in my Oct. 30, 2012 blog National Print Media Transition. Both programs are responding to the need for internet access by lower income residents of the community. The programs acknowledge the relevance of communicating to the citizens the changes digital technology has had on processing of information in social programs and everyday acts, such as filling out a job application.
            The Radio Times program provided insightful information about the type of digital objects that are in use and what kind of data can be processed with them. The digital objects that were presented are the Smartphone and the “In Home” computer or Laptop computer. The Smartphone connects to the internet, but has limits of processing certain data. Some of those limits can include job applications and submission of forms for social programs. These tend to require a traditional computer experience of sitting in front of a desktop or laptop computer. This discussion included the resident’s social economic background as it relates to who owns which types of digital objects. Currently, a larger portion of the city (Philadelphia) population reflects ownership of Smartphones, even among lower income citizens.
            These concepts about how the public is accessing the internet will be considered in the development of presentation and public access to my collection project. Visit whyy.org to listen to the Open Data Philly & Bridging the Digital Divide. 


[1] https://www.phillykeyspots.org/about-us (Accessed: Jan. 17, 2013)

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