Also, is it possible that Internet access and even PCs are going to be
needed by everyone, including low-income people? I'm old enough to
remember when television was new and when middle-class people tsk-tsked at
seeing "poor people" spending their money on TV sets. At some point, the
need for TV access by everyone was acknowledged. I think this will happen
with Internet and PCs, also.
On Thu, 24 Aug 2000, Darryl Wiggers wrote:
> > There is good news to announce this issue... A survey of
> > Internet users in June found low-income families represent the fastest
> > growing online demographic... families making less than $25,000 a year
> > still represent only 10 percent of the online population.
> > Well, let's take our victories where we can...
> It's interesting that this news is viewed as "good news" and a victory. Good
> news for who? A victory for who?
> Is it "good news" that poor families are being forced to spend what little
> money they have to join the "digital revolution"? Is it a victory that if
> they don't, they will surely stay poor? Locally, for example, politicians
> have been pushing the web as THE place to find employment. What they didn't
> think about it that's there's a huge homeless population in Toronto who
> don't have jobs, hence, don't have the luxury of internet access.
> Consequently they've had to install computers in all their employment
> centres to accommodate those without. Even still, without a computer at
> home, and internet, it means waiting in line at the employment centre every
> day to check their e-mail. Meanwhile, students -- on top of tuition and
> books -- are now virtually helpless unless they have a computer (which means
> spending even more money). A few years ago I was stunned when some
> universities started listing computers as mandatory tools. Then there is the
> cost of repairs, upgrades, software...
> A common response is the current low-cost of much of this technology. Trust
> me, if you're making less than $25,000/year, low-cost takes on a new
> meaning. Food, clothes and rent take a huge bite. But today, in the year
> 2000, we have almost completely established a society that makes it
> mandatory to have a personal computer and internet access. Even a few years
> ago we starting hearing about homeless people, living under bridges with
> nothing but a few scraps of clothes and a laptop. And this is what worries
> me about the current drive of libraries to build their "field of dreams"
> with DVDs. As long as the library is providing the equipment as well, that
> sounds marvelous. If not, it's kind of like scrapping public transportation
> and expecting everyone to buy cars.
> Of course, our disposable western society depends on convincing consumers
> that they must constantly buy "newer" and "better" products. Obviously even
> librarians seem convinced of this. Remember, we're only a few years away
> from HD-DVD...
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Sr. Gilmary Speirs [mailto:speirs@MARYWOOD1.MARYWOOD.edu]
> Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2000 9:51 AM
> To: Multiple recipients of list
> Subject: FW: Poor families now fastest-growing Internet demographic
> You might find this message relevant to the DVD discussion.
> Sr. Gilmary Speirs, I.H.M.
> Collection Management Librarian for Non-Print
> Marywood University
> 2300 Adams Avenue
> Scranton, PA 18509-1598
> E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Phone: (570) 348-6266
> Fax: (570) 961-4769
> -----Original Message-----
> >From Philanthropy News Journal...
> Dear reader,
> There is good news to announce this issue, and it's because the digital
> divide in America is slowly but surely beginning to close. A survey of
> Internet users in June found low-income families represent the fastest
> growing online demographic. That may be because most other demographic
> groups - meaning wealthier families - are generally on the Internet by now,
> based on the fact families making less than $25,000 a year still represent
> only 10 percent of the online population.
> Well, let's take our victories where we can, because these numbers are
> likely to improve as American society in general moves to the Web. For the
> international digital divide, a lot of work remains.
> Poor families now fastest-growing Internet demographic
> Low-income households are now the fastest growing online demographic
> group, which means the digital divide is slowly closing. Overall,
> however, poor families account for less than 10 percent of the online
> population, according to a new report...
> John Freund, C.M.
> 718 262 8826 718 262 8695 (fax)
> www.famvin.org and vincentian.stjohns.edu