Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

The New Media Digital Divide... Study Finds Elites Continue To Dominate

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 7, 2011

A study by Jen Schradie at UC Berkeley found that the digital divide is alive and well in the new media world despite proclamations of a new democratic leveling of online media through blogs, Tweets, etc.

Schradie, a researcher at the campus’s Berkeley Center for New Media, analyzed data from more than 41,000 American adults surveyed between 2000 and 2008 in the Pew Internet and American Life Project. She found that college graduates are 1.5 times more likely to be bloggers than are high school graduates; twice as likely to post photos and videos and three times more likely to post an online rating or comment.

Overall, the study found, less than 10 percent of the U.S. population is participating in most online production activities, and having a college degree is a greater predictor of who will generate publicly available online content than being young and white.

Not only is there a digital divide, it seems to be worse than simply not having a computer.

"...my findings show the Internet is actually reinforcing the socio-economic divisions that already exist, and may even heighten them, which has all sorts of implications as more of civic and economic life moves online.”

She says that there is no evidence that the next generation known as "digital natives" will change the "strong patterns of inequality" that she found across 10 online activities.

So much for digital democracy: New study finds elite viewpoints dominate online content


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