- What A Wonderful World
What A Wonderful World
“What A Wonderful World” Louis Armstrong was singing with his deep and hoarse, melancholic voice, the 1st day of September 1967, and optimists had just found their rainbow hymn, words that feel like home, carrying the warmth of freshly-baked cookies on a snowy Christmas Day, while the “half-empty glass” kind of people, just another glass to not fill to the top. Whatever the tastes however, for decades after, and for more to follow certainly, it seems that we found ourselves a beautiful, imaginary comfort place, one to escape to, when life gets too lifey, a happy and united neighborhood, one of love and equality.
A big neighborhood is the world, not always to be seen as the one sung of though. Rather unfortunate to consider, as of the reasons that divide us, more are the ones that keep us united. And if the whole world is not to the ground as of today, it is because of people that keep pushing. For a world of equality and respect, co-existence, and evolution, for a world that lacks benefits; when these are absent.
And as our ways progress and evolve, along with what we accomplish and are capable of, so do the walls that divide us, keeping people on the other side. Thus, divides today are not only, class related, not clearly at least. Even though, social-economic differences are to blame for certain groups not having access to services or opportunities in general, it is important to identify that, as our societies are embracing the digital dimensions, so do the divides. And for a good reason.
Almost everything, from our entertainment and shopping habits to our work, health, information and news, communication routines, and of course government services, our every move almost, is now networked. Some love it, others hate it; a lot are addicted to it. But in the end, it is what it is.
The concept itself, means that some groups of people are going to be left out. The reasons for that are many. No access to computers or smartphones, lack of experience and expertise on hοw to take advantage of digital services, that eventually leads to fear of using them. A phenomenon is thus born, and everything that is born, has to be baptized. And thy name is Digital Divide.
The Many Shades of Wrong
If we were to closely examine the Digital Divide with our social microscope (all rights reserved), we would become witnesses of 3 separate levels, that make the phenomenon a tad bit easier to understand.
The 1st level
The first level of Digital Divide describes the lack of a connection to the Internet or the needed equipment to do so. Lack of a computer, smartphone, an internet connection, or any other equipment that is necessary for being a part of the network, are all embraced by the 1st level.
Even though it can still be a problem, it is not a massive one anymore, as the vast number of citizens in 2022, have access to the internet, one way or another.
The 2nd level
The 2nd level arrives to clear things out, or complicate them a bit more, regarding the reasons of why the Digital Divide exists. It goes beyond the ownership of electronic devices, or an internet connection, and focuses on the different levels of online skills, know-how, trust, or online services access of adult users, when they use the Internet and the services it provides.
Put simply, users with lack of the respective training and knowledge on how to take advantage of what is offered, shall not use it, thus missing the existing benefits.
The 3rd level
The 3rd level of Digital Divide. The one that does not waste time with device expertise, or the skills on how to use them, not even the Internet provided services. The 3rd level, is connected to the benefits that users of digital services enjoy in real life, compared to those who do not. Better time and money management, as well as an organized registry of documents and files, just to name a few. For instance, a citizen who needs specific documents for an application, would need to spend hours going around different buildings, floors, and services, having to compromise with the frustration that accompanies the process.
E-government allows adult users to complete the whole process in a matter of minutes, from the comfort of their personal space.
No matter how many pathetic reasons we invent to hold us apart, we shall always struggle to find the solutions that unite, and allow us to come together. A state of mind that paves colorful and peaceful pathways, to be walked by all in our worlds, physical and digital alike.
Until the skies are blue, and the clouds are white, and till everyone, on planet earth, is able to call our world a wonderful place, let us make steps, baby’s or bigger, of inclusion, respect, and co-existence. For societies of equality, that do not divide.