Exploring The Great Digital Divide

By Rori Harrington We all know about the digital divide – the gap between those with adequate access to new technology and those without.  Another digital divide that deserves our attention: the gap between those who grew up in the digital age and those reared in a world without ubiquitous cell phones and WiFi.

Ask a college student to contact someone and he or she will probably jump on Facebook or send a text message rather than make a personal visit or a phone call.

Problems arise when the person being sought isn’t on Facebook, doesn’t have voice mail and doesn’t text message. And there are still plenty of people who have not and may never jump on the tech bandwagon for a variety of reasons.  Technology and social media have completely altered the way most of us communicate. Young adults grew up in the Internet age, immersed in a WiFi world where almost anything is available with a few clicks.

Many people in their mid-twenties and older recall a time when someone leaving a message involved a phone with a cord and an answering machine with a cassette tape. If someone says they left you a message today, you probably have to check several sources (e.g. email, voice mail, text message, Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter…).

Social media and new technology are offering wonderful advancements, but let’s not lose sight of the value in communicating in person. This is especially true for those looking for valuable networking opportunities, whether searching for a job or an information source.

The conversation with someone you speak to on the phone or meet in person provides immediacy and clarity that Facebook and text messaging can’t always offer. There’s no font for sarcasm. Not yet, anyway.

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