Digital divide is a term representing the gap between populations that have easy access to communication and information technologies and those who remain underserved by these technologies. Issues related to the digital divide are salient Digital Divide 311 worldwide because of the widely held belief that inclusion and involvement in the global information and knowledge economy is an important measure of the “quality of life” in the 21st century. Consequently, being excluded by this emerging economy is deemed a significant deprivation. The digital divide is an important concern for communication and social change theorists and practitioners. This essay highlights and describes key facets of the digital divide.

While liberals, libertarians, and conservatives are united in their determination to tackle this divide, their solutions vary in scope and substance. Empowerment, digital competency for economic development, and open access for all are just some of the objectives of digital-inclusion projects. Making provisions for digital dividends has become a priority concern for organizations such as the World Resources Institute and the World Bank. The World Bank, for instance, supported the Virtual Souk project in North Africa that has enabled rural artisans to connect to a larger, international market for their crafts.

While access to and the affordable uses of information and knowledge have increasingly become a yardstick for development as defined by the International Telecommunications Union, the United Nations Development Program, and a range of multilateral and international aid agencies, the preponderance of technologically determinist thinking and the tendency to advocate one-size-fits-all solutions have seriously affected the efficacy of the global response to the digital divide. While there is certainly a case to be made for leapfrogging technologies, such as the use of mobile telephony in contexts previously discounted by or beyond the shapings of telecommunications, it would be shortsighted to infer from such examples that a single application such as mobile telephony is the answer to the world’s digital divide.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.379-380

Penanggungjawab naskah :

Gayes Mahestu
Edwina Ayu Kustiawan