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Group Project

From business arrangements to stalking fellow peers’, social networking sites have opened new dimensions to social interaction, which has caused a snowball effect in dominating the online market these past few years.  Evidence of such results can be seen through figures that suggest over 400 million online users are connected to social site ‘Facebook’ , which has passed ‘Google’ in being the most visited site in the US last Christmas eve, Christmas day and New Year’s day 2009 amongst others.   Does this mean we are searching less and connecting more or an increase in both?  Whatever the reason, it’s proven that Facebook has become a synonymous social networking site and is benefiting from every angle through driving in ad hungry businesses to sparking a media buzz for venture capital investments.   There’s even been confirmation for filming a ‘Facebook’ movie, which will focus on the overnight success of Facebook and its creator Mark Zuckerberg.  According to reports, castings have included pop stars such as ‘Justin Timberlake’ who recently landed a role.  But with such hype what is it that attracts us to Facebook and aids its online revolution that has totalled a value of $11.5 billion to date?  


With such a broad spectrum of potential reasons ranging with a hierarchy of significance, perhaps we need to look at the simplistic causes that motivate us to click ‘log in’, which in turn you’ll find entails a more in-depth psychological process that hinders our surfing methods of the unhealthy long hours.  Much of the success came from the initial concept of creating a system for college students to share personal news, exchange photo’s or team up on political cases.  This however expanded with models changing to suit varying audiences.  This can be seen as the core source of the functionality of potential global addiction. With basic features in mind, it predominantly comes down to the logic of convenient communication amongst peers with those ‘special’ added benefits of sharing media, personal photo’s and status updates that initiate the start of the ball roll and what also differentiate it from other sites;   This inevitably gives friends, family and acquaintances the desired satisfaction of indulging in the knowledge of others’ daily activities, relationships, financial status etc, which provides a gossip like feed to hungry minds;  Similar concept to following celebrities but instead, of individuals within associated networks making ‘gossip’ that little bit more Juicy.  



Added basic options such as ‘address book search’ helps accumulate the growth and interaction by giving individuals the opportunity to find old school ‘mates’ and ex-colleagues, which provides a more engaging experience for the user.  This gives relationships a chance to reform without the notion of ‘catching up over coffee’ or dining experiences, which again offers more convenience especially for those who lead a hectic and busy life.   Such a scenario is a perfect example of the gravitational pull Facebook has already started by eliminating social tasks of the real world and re-directing them to a virtual means of communication all motivated by convenience. 



New endeavours of reconnecting through a digital network gives a fresh start to both parties as ‘thought’ can be injected into what is said, that helps form a certain portrayal of one’s character.  This also applies to all online connected individuals, as they encompass a sense of control in how they are perceived through particular information they display whether it be on their profile or communicated to a friend.  This in theory can reinforce certain online behaviour and can question the sincerity of individuals’ comments made public as they all are aware that their Facebook activity is being monitored by their inner circle of friends.  Users also tend to upload particular multimedia and/or manipulate wording in their wall posts to gain a certain response whether it be positive or negative that could be a facade for social acceptance.  Examples of such behaviour include individuals who like their egos stroked, anyone wanting acknowledgment for an act/achievement or even people who desire empathy for certain situations, which is delivered directly to them through responses of admiring comments and the use of clicking ‘like’ buttons.  A trigger of checking Facebook every so often can be caused from the anticipation of potential responses, which in many cases and common ones now form addicts.  It’s not only certain individuals this applies to but to the whole world as everyone wants a reaction varying in degrees.  Some who aren’t the most sociable may just want to express themselves through Facebook and feel more confident behind a keyboard by building a new means of online body language. 


The concept of sharing and expressing is what feed many.  From dancing videos to singing links, many have a talent to show and hope to capitalise on them through Facebook and the exposure of the following it brings, which again goes back to reinforcing and feeling good about oneself.  This can also be catered for on the notorious networking site through creating a fan or group page with options of uploading material to share.   All of a sudden, everyone can become a pop sensation and claim the fame in their own network, which for many is a big breakthrough.  This in turn encourages further networking to take place with individuals who can familiarise themselves with those in similar situations.  As such progressions falls in place for ‘wannabes’,  the excitement builds up causing frequent visits to the site, likely to be 10 times more the amount before attaining the potential fan and feedback interaction.  In a sense it becomes a new form of blogging but on a more connected note as potential page views are more likely to occur because of the regime of 100’s of connected network circles.  Facebook doesn’t just ensure the basis of a concept runs successfully but branches out with excessive related apps offering more to the public in order to maintain user engagement.   An example of this can be taken from creating a fan page, which not only provides an instant feed but allows you to monitor peoples’ interaction with the page through statistical insight  broken down into categories of data with visitors Age, gender and location and even further advances.  Definitely a great app in my opinion as I’ve regrettably  succumbed to the Facebook society as well as becoming a victim of such application, which truthfully has brought me quite a lot of freelance work & following since creating a fan page for my design work.  A useful tool to many but priceless for entrepreneurs and giant corporations as after all, Facebook have millions of users sitting there waiting to be mind moggled.   Another beneficial additional app’ involves giving users the advanced options to promote their groups or fan pages, all at a price of course.  With these ad spaces available & potential viewing of up to 400 million, it was inevitable all forms of businesses and organisations would swamp in and sign up regardless of their size or value. 


Much of Facebooks’ growing success relies on the involvement of businesses that predominantly feed the companies pockets and who have now also become primary role players in using the system.  Facebooks intentions of merging two worlds together have skyrocketed online engagement by directing businesses straight to user profiles (potential customers) and vice versa.   Evidence of this is stamped all over trading websites who host the ‘join our Facebook group’  Logo with a direct hyperlink to their page, which in turn becomes a free marketing tool for Facebook by introducing itself to customers of millions of businesses across the globe. You can also find the Like button and other social plugins on more than 50,000 websites.   Marketing pilgrim has reported this has even converted into hard copies as “ Facebook has started to send out decals to local businesses to put in storefront windows encouraging patrons to go the establishment’s Facebook “Like” page to do just that; like them” 

Here’s a picture:

These connections to businesses is why Facebook has overshadowed other networking sites as it’s utilized their resources exceptionally well whilst capitalising on popular culture tech & entertainment. Examples of this would be the focus around celebrities of the tech world, obviously being the Iphone and Blackberry that have served a different way of thinking for the online web. They’ve encompassed everything an individual would need that could be done from personal desktop computers and laptops.  The feed of news, entertainment, and TV is directed straight to their pockets saving time and effort.   But the most notable feature is the interaction with online sites offering permanent internet connection to the public andbusinesses the opportunity to monetize plenty of services by creating applications to sell.  The notification of this saw Facebook instantly setting up a ‘Facebook Application’ within 3 months of the Iphone launch giving users more of a reason to stay connected and increase interaction as tasks such as updating statuses became an innate tendency similar to the joys of texting.  Further emphasis can be made on Facebook Connect, “which allows external services like Twitter to interact directly with subscribers’ of Facebook accounts”, saving users the hassle of logging in to their accounts to view messages;   This being perfect major steps to sustain the life of Facebook, which other giants failed to recognize that caused plummeting figures.  The fact that Facebook associated itself with its primary competitor ‘Twitter’ as oppose to pushing them out, shows the lengths the company will go to maximise full engagement.  It also involves other social sites such as YouTube who’ve displayed  share buttons under each uploaded videos, giving Facebook users the chance to share YouTube specials , which works great for both companies as web traffic and promotion increases by the minute (Translation = Cha Ching!!!!) 


This link mania doesn’t stop there but spreads out to as many fields as possible stealing users of other social site and enticing them and existing Fbook users with applications including classic games from scrabble to Sims like Virtual world.  With so many alternative applications available it’s surely to be the most engaging website ever or probably will be but this has already caused concerns through homes as many individuals have been affected by addiction or privacy concerns. Research shows social networking sites are becoming a substitute for families in countries like Britain where traditional ties have become weaker.  Others are becoming more aware of their personal data being shared amongst companies with even further problems occurring when trying to delete accounts.  Canada’s privacy commissioner said that online social networking site Facebook breaches the law by keeping users’ personal information indefinitely after members close their accounts.  But would these put social surfers off from logging in?  I think not as we find the rewards of social indulgence outweigh the costs of sharing our information, similar to the notion that we know mobiles are frying away our brains yet we rely on them to communicate with the world.   And if deleting a Facebook account became psychologically do-able the majority of individuals, especially addicts would probably entail a social complex of missing out on the online social world. 


US Senator wants FTC to regulate privacy on Facebook, other social networks

Sony is ending production of 3.5in floppy disks.

The Virtue of Forgetting

Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, Viktor Mayer-Schonberger (2009)

David Clark, Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

If the gathering, storage, and processing of information puts us all in the center of a digital panopticon, the failure to forget creates a panopticon crossbred with a time-travel machine. Mayer-Schönberger catalogs the range of social concerns that are arising as technology favors remembering over forgetting, and offers some approaches that might give forgetting a respected place in the digital world. Read this book. Don’t forget about forgetting.

Publishers description:

Delete looks at the surprising phenomenon of perfect remembering in the digital age, and reveals why we must reintroduce our capacity to forget. Digital technology empowers us as never before, yet it has unforeseen consequences as well. Potentially humiliating content on Facebook is enshrined in cyberspace for future employers to see. Google remembers everything we’ve searched for and when. The digital realm remembers what is sometimes better forgotten, and this has profound implications for us all.

In Delete, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger traces the important role that forgetting has played throughout human history, from the ability to make sound decisions unencumbered by the past to the possibility of second chances. The written word made it possible for humans to remember across generations and time, yet now digital technology and global networks are overriding our natural ability to forget–the past is ever present, ready to be called up at the click of a mouse. Mayer-Schönberger examines the technology that’s facilitating the end of forgetting–digitization, cheap storage and easy retrieval, global access, and increasingly powerful software–and describes the dangers of everlasting digital memory, whether it’s outdated information taken out of context or compromising photos the Web won’t let us forget. He explains why information privacy rights and other fixes can’t help us, and proposes an ingeniously simple solution–expiration dates on information–that may.

Delete is an eye-opening book that will help us remember how to forget in the digital age.

Our Digitally Undying Memories, Siva Vaidhyanathan
Ask the author: Viktor Mayer-Schonberger
Teaching computers how to forget, Nate Anderson
Book of the week: Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, Henry Farrell

Remediation is everywhere!

Media is concerned with holding our attention.  We want to feel as if we’re involved in the stories on the news as soon as they happen and be immersed in the alien worlds of film and videogames.

In today’s postmodern world TV, film and videogames seem to intersperse and influence each other.  Films such as Gamer and Tron as well as the classic TV series Re:Boot take the ideas of videogames and ask what would happen if real humans took the place of in-game avatars.  Recently the games Alone in the Dark and Split/Second have used TV/DVD style episode structures rather than levels.

Split/Second is an intense arcade action racing game set within the world of a hyper-competitive reality TV show. Competitors vie to be the first across the finish line in a made-for-TV city built for destruction, with the ultimate goal of being the season champion.

Meanwhile news broadcasts take visual elements from sports broadcasts and websites to make us feel closer to their narrative.  There is a layering of information in split screens, reminiscent of the windows of a browser.  The weather and stock information are like banners or widgets in a webpage just below their actual web address.

One way of looking at these inter connected media is through the idea of remediation set out by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin in their 1999 book Remediation: Understanding New Media.  Remediation is the idea of media, whatever its form, mixing ideas and techniques from other types of media.  For example The Red Shoes takes elements from fairy tale, dance, theatre and painting mixed with techniques unique to cinema to produce something that could only exist as a film. Remediation has been around for almost as long as media itself.

On the one hand any experience such as GTAIV tries to immerse the player with realistic weather, lighting and animation, going so far as to incorporate parodies of TV and the internet and getting characters to phone your mobile.  All of this is to increase your immersion or immediacy as Bolter and Grushin set it out.

On the other hand is the hypermediacy of such an experience.  This refers to all the technologies required to fit together, in order to create this seamless world.  There’s all the motion capture and voice acting, physics modelling, path finding, a whole city of vehicles, billboards and buildings to be constructed and textured.  A team of hundreds have to chip in to create that unified vision.  If I become aware of all the work that goes into this it breaks my suspension of disbelief.

Put another way, when you click on a link you expect the relevent text, image or video to appear instantly, keeping the immediacy of your browsing experience flowing, but underneath is the hypermediacy of electronics, servers and data transfer.

This paradox of immediacy and hypermediacy is at the heart of remediation and seems to be everywhere if you look for it.

In their 1999 book Remediation: Understanding New Media, Jay Bolter and Richard Grusin reframe the term ‘new media’ as not a new media but a version – a technology that re-mediates previous media and cultural practice through different technical processes: ‘what is new about new media comes from the particular ways in which they refashion older media and the ways in which older media refashion themselves to answer the challenges of new media’. (15) Bolter and Grusin’s term ‘remediation’, and their insistence on a methodological approach that forms a continuum with previous cultural theory (as opposed to a break with previous theory) is crucial for understanding some of the core features of digital aesthetics.

Bolter and Grusin define the construction of ‘remediation’ as: ‘the double logic of immediacy and hypermediacy’ (x). They expound the urge, particularly in visual media, for aesthetics that make invisible their technological processes whilst simultaneously wanting to show-off how they are of those technological processes: ‘Our culture wants both to multiply its media and to erase all traces of mediation: ideally, it wants to erase its media in the very act of multiplying them’. (5) They trace this urge back to Renaissance pictorial illusion: the tension between the attempt to show ‘real’ perspective that pointed away from the pictorial plane and the attempt to show the materiality of paint and wall, and the skill of the artist in manufacturing the illusion of perspective. Exemplifying this trait in new media Bolter and Grusin describe the attempt to create an affect of ‘immediacy’ through technological ‘hypermediacy’ in the medium of digital filmmaking: ‘In the effort to create a seamless moving image, filmmakers combine live-action footage with computer compositing and two- and three-dimensional computer graphics’. (9)

This form is something that underpins the very being of the recent Hollywood blockbuster Avatar (2009). The production draws attention to its own myriad re-presentations – animation (hand drawn and computer-generated), live action, imaginative and ‘real’ ecosystems, intertextuality, 3D rendering; it is a film that has been touted as a technological achievement and could only have been realised through its many technologies. But its hypermediacy is also an attempt to compress the distance between viewer and screen (quite literally in the instance of 3D imaging), and to offer an immediacy of experience — the viewer is meant to feel that they are there, in the. Avatar practices remediation but is also an object of remediation in that its existence is enabled by prior remediation of the technologies and aesthetics it borrows (other cinematic media, animation as media etc). As Bolter and Grusin write:

New digital media are not external agents that come to disrupt an unsuspecting culture. They emerge from within cultural contexts, and they refashion other media, which are embedded in the same or similar contexts. (19)

Some further info:
(This is a short blog about remediation which usefully has a more up-to-date example of ‘remediation’ in practice)
(An article that suggests blogging is far from a ‘new media’)
(Criticism of Remediation)
(Criticism of the criticism of Remediation)

Things to think about:

• The term ‘remediation’ suggests that ‘new media’ is not all that new. In the context of past discussions you have had do you think that this is true? Are digital media in all its guises – film, internet, mp3s, iPhones etc etc – really just versions of what has gone before – film, telephones, paper, records? What is different about the digital? (I am thinking of the piece you read by Kevin Kelly that suggested Wikipedia is really a version of how we cognitively produce understanding – the cross-referencing our brains already do).

• Criticism of Bolter and Grusin’s work has focused on the fact that they talk about ‘new media’ in old terms – in terms that have been established already in the areas of art, music and literature. Do you think there should be a new critical language to discuss ‘new media’?

• My own studies are currently looking at ‘remediation’ in literature; I have used Avatar as an example in the section above; other critics have looked at ‘remediation’ in terms of video games, or digital music recording. Can you think of a technology or piece of work (film, TV, website/software programme etc) that exemplifies ‘remediation’.

On Remediation – Networked Cultures – PowerPoint Notes


Went round to the Dorkbot meeting last week.  Inside the Limehouse town hall I found myself in a dimly lit hall and a young woman finishing up a presentation about giving donated laptops to children who wouldn’t normally have access to them.

A got a beer and found a seat near the front as a Russian gentleman set up in front of a projection linked to his laptop.  He introduced himself as Danja Vasiliev and spoke about his art incorporating technology and our relationship with it.  His re: buntu program is a self replicating Linux operating system.  It runs on the desktop opening an exact copy of itself.  Repeatedly, until the computer runs out of memory and has to start euthanizing it’s clones.

In the past Vasiliev has recycled CD-drives and other bits of computer stuff that’s normally hidden inside sleek plastic to create a physical website called meme2.0 where every page one of 28 etched circuit boards.  When the user clicks on a link one CD tray closes and a new one opens.  It turns the nuts and bolts, the hardware, inside out, asking us to

bring machines into the world of people instead of living second (hand) lifes in the world of machines.

More recently he was involved in a collaborative project called Web 2.0 Suicide Machine.  The aim is to help people get back to their real lives by letting the machine take all the pain out of virtual death.  Designed to be compatible with the major social networking sites it would get rid of all your profile’s data, deleting friends and photos before changing your password so you can go outside and hang out with your friends.  Unhappy to be losing the population of their empire, Facebook took issue with their users right to die and issued a cease and desist order to the suicide machines makers.

He finished by telling us about an idea that incorporates wireless devices into an ad-hoc network using the transport system to move information around.  It would turn the tube and bus routes into a city wide network that isn’t stored on any server.

Whilst the next couple of guys set up there was a short musical interlude provided by a camera and whiteboard repurposed into a kind of freestyle, mark making beat box.  Based on what kind of symbols were drawn, and the distances between them, a beat was generated by a synthesizer with a projection onto the whiteboard visualising pink blobs that bounced between the symbols.

The next group called DerivArt incorporated a sociologist, programmer and painter.  Their work looks at financial systems, how they work and why they crash.  They have a relaxed attitude to mixing media, using paintings to represent financial trends and turning them back into data, programming Gameboys to teach us about market crashes and still finding time to curate group shows.

It was an entertaining talk, giving a good look at the working practice of DerivArt and explaining how they try to educate with a sense of humour.

Rounding off the evening was EunJoo Shin presenting her Vocal Trio. These three instruments take vocals of participants, keeping the pitch and tempo, and turn them into a bell, horn, or flute sound.  It was overall an interesting evening with an inclusive, international feel, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for upcoming events.

‘You are free to do as we tell you’ B.Hicks

Pretty much everyone will agree with me that our liberty rights are being systematically erased by state and law using such noble adjectives as law-abiding, honest, fair and  people like to be perceived as such. In order to be protected against terrorism we accepted more and more tight laws. However isn’t it the mass media that are modeling us into what governments see as decent citizens? Are we not being hypnotized by TV and  major newspapers which at the end are owned by the same rich businessmen who sponsor our democratically elected parties?

The above video carries a well-known mark of You Tube and can be found on one of many websites created by people concerned about our freedom. The You Tube  is an excellent gateway for them to communicate their truth to the world. However recently we saw a new lawsuit against the site.

A one billion dollar lawsuit against YouTube threatens internet freedom, according to its owner Google.

Google’s claim follows Viacom’s move to sue the video sharing service for its inability to keep copyrighted material off its site.

Viacom says it has identified 150,000 unauthorised clips on YouTube.

In court documents Google’s lawyers say the action “threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information” over the web.

The circle around internet freedom of communication tightens with pretty much each new venture because giant profits should be getting bigger. Here is another idea how to legally control even the typo-mistakes you and me make when searching the net. Microsoft lawyers had brought lawsuit against domains owners who profit from variations of their trademark (full article)

I don’t see myself as a conspiracy theoretician but some facts aren’t easy to ignore. Who owns the internet?Is it still a free medium or well exploited tool of business establishment?

The Internet consists of lots of different bits and pieces, each of which has an owner. Some of these owners can control the quality and level of access you have to the Internet. They might not own the entire system, but they can impact your Internet experience.

Full article here

Michael Copps, FCC Commissioner sees things in even more dark colours ( from film by John Nada ‘ Wake up call’)

Those who think the internet alone will save us should realise that dominating internet news sources are controlled by the same media giants who control radio, TV, newspapers and cable.

As another person in the film suggests the public has an illusion of choice and I couldn’t agree more. Our own convenience makes us belive we choose what we want to see and we are in control. However we long time forgot the world without the media and more so without the internet. Homo internauticus? Maybe not yet but the evolution in its notion carries a gradual process that in this case might be easily ignored by everyday users overwhelmed by on-line entertainment.

Week 6 – Class notes: Facebook

In a week were Facebook becomes the most visited website in the USA we shall investigate how much we really now about it

Possible starting points:
Facebook passes Google as most-viewed site in US in past week
With 400 million users, will the social networking service end up eating itself
Facebook still refuses to commit to panic button, minister hears
FBI using Facebook in fight against crime
Blogging then and now
Facebook’s New Privacy Changes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Now Is It Facebook’s Microsoft Moment?
The Full Story Of How Facebook Was Founded
Facebook to Add Location Data, Encourage Epic Levels of Oversharing
Brief Facebook glitch sent private messages to wrong users
Conversations About the Internet #5: Anonymous Facebook Employee
Facebook for photo storage
Facebook ‘linked to rise in syphilis’

Facebook Abuse (video)
Facebook, Twitter Revolutionizing How Parents Stalk Their College-Aged Kids (ideas for the Group project?)

DigiFest is a week long series of events at The Science Museum’s Dana Centre. These are all free, but you do need to pre-book a seat.

What’s on:

This Is Your Brain on Technology
22 March 2010, 19:00 – 21:00
What is technology doing to us? In three hands-on experiments, discover what happens to our brains when we browse the web, how our surfing habits restructure how we think, and whether we can actually be Facebook friends with 700 people.

An Audience with…
23 March 2010, 19:00 – 21:00
Join the Guardian’s ‘Tech Weekly’ podcast team for a live recording of their award-winning programme, plus a Q and A session with a special guests – Austin Heap, developer of encryption software Haystack and Christine Zaba, NO2ID.

The Web: The Ultimate Propaganda Machine?
24 March 2010, 19:00 – 21:00
The web has allowed linking up of pressure groups, bringing people power to politics. But what happens when authoritarian regimes get the same idea? Come to learn about the emerging ‘spinternet’ and how we could be turning into cogs in a new propaganda machine.

What Are Games Really Teaching Us?
25 March 2010, 19:00 – 21:00
Computer games are increasingly being used in schools. What else are children taking on board, apart from just the three Rs? Join the debate and test out the titles, to discover the good and bad that games can teach us.

Technology You Can’t Live Without
26 March 2010, 19:00 – 21:00
Technology moves at lightning speeds – how can you keep up with it all? Join us to catch up on the latest innovations and trends with an evening of fast-fire, technology-inspired presentations from luminaries and experts.

Future of Publishing

Watch it at least half way…

The Electronic Frontier Foundation today released documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act which discuss law enforcement agencies’ use of social networking sites to gather data in investigations. “One of the most interesting files is a 2009 training course that describes how IRS employees may use various Internet tools—including social networking sites and Google Street View—to investigate taxpayers.” Here’s a related AP item on how feds used a fake Facebook profile to nab a suspect.

Digital Divide – Online revolution stalled?

Undeniably the online revolution has enhanced people’s lives from improving efficiency of businesses to worldwide fame through online video posts.  It’s changed the functioning of individuals in their daily routines providing convenience in day to day chores with hassle-free solutions saving time and money.  Yet with so many benefits we still find a ‘Digital Divide’, which is seen as a predominant gap between those who adequately use the internet, from others who are limited to access or refuse to conform to the online society. 

With overwhelming online possibilities there are many factors that play a role in why an estimated 17 million non users in the UK aged over 15 are losing interest at an alarming rate.  Much of this can be down to how daunting the advances of the internet can be to those who’ve not warmed to the online world let alone the digital revolution.  With the focus on social networking sites and associated media stories of addiction and privacy worries, the public are given more reasons to stay away from the internet.  “It’s destroyed a lot of family life” another complained in a
BBC report, as hobbies are no longer enjoyed communally.  Others hold anxiety of making mistakes when exploring the uses of the computers and believe misuse of a button could result in damaging outcomes such as deleting important files or blowing up a computer.

These are understandable reasons but some can also be seen as excuses, as online surfing time can be controlled and limited to prevent such destruction to family lifestyles or can be done as a family inviting parents and children to interact with one another.  Could it just be a facade of laziness and fear of lifestyle change?  It’s not only conservative older groups who’d rather stick to traditional communication services but also young adults that are avoiding or struggling to grasp the complications of online uses.  Such reasons lie within upbringing with financial struggle and lack of academic skills especially with those who are illiterate thus affecting confidence levels. The government is promoting to tackle this by offering free computers and broadband in the near future.  But how handy will this be if no training is given which seems to be the source of the problem. 

It’s becoming more evident that progression of computer technology may be attractive to some but alienating others, even potential enthusiasts.   A gradual decrease in interest is backed up by research from the Oxford internet Institute.  They reported the willingness of people wanting to use the internet dropped from 40% to 20% over the past 5 years and are now becoming harder to convince.  Again this comes down to the individuals’ mentality of what is seen as negative thinking with reasons such as ‘I won’t be able to learn that’ or ‘computers are like a Rubik’s cube’. This is becoming politically sensitive, much so that the government have appointing Marther Lane Fox to champion change who stated you can’t be a proper citizen of our society in the future if you are not online”

It’s becoming essential for many to learn the foundations of computer and internet use as current pressure on public spending has directed the government on talks of a digital switchover by moving public services to online world.  My initial response to this was it being a very single minded plan as alternatives should be available for those physically incapable of such tasks and would leave the public more prone to errors, which could cause detrimental results in health care services.  These talks were also criticised by the House of Commons who stressed ‘much more than costs would be at stake’.

 This has targeted non users as a challenge to whole of society and personally also a challenge to themselves.  The lack of internet access has proven unfavourable for those in need of a job as many applications are processed online.  This is why it’s more beneficial for ‘refuseniks’ to approach online tech now before further complications arise.  We are already seeing online switchovers and the future seems very much digital especially with the attention of green campaigns and 2020 emission targets, which may see a result in paper free documents substituted by online documents. 

With this in mind families should come together and take the time and help each other with such daunting machinery.  There are millions of online children who can introduce little steps to their parents but are too stuck on social networking and gossip feed.  Martha lane is hoping for a catalysing event so compelling it will attract Britain to go online and has her eyes on the Olympic as being a stepping stone in achieving the 100% target of online use.   This to me seems positive way to go about it as oppose to scaring people by giving them the digital ultimatum.


Digital Divide

The term Digital Divide refers to the difference in levels of access to computer hardware and the internet whether locally or globally.  This could be due to economic factors or lack of infrastructure.  According to 21st Century Challenges, an organisation affiliated to the Royal Geographical Society, a third of households in the UK don’t have access to the internet.

This ‘Final Third’ is more likely to be made up of the elderly, those in rural areas and people in social housing.  Last year the Department for Culture published it’s Digital Britain report outlining how the government plans to close the divide and how it’s going to fund it.  These include a 50p a month ‘broadband tax’ on every telephone line in the country and a £200m surplus from the digital switchover scheme.

As commerce and education increasingly move online it could lead to those not connected losing out.  Having an internet connection gives access to jobs, banking, shopping as well as all the other useful information out there.  Without access to online shopping and banking it’s estimated offline households lose out on savings of £560 a year.  In short, if this gap is not closed it could lead to a two tier society divided by access to information and the benefits it brings.  As is so often the case it is those of higher income who reap the most whilst those on lower income are the people who’ll lose out.