Is Social Media Leaving the Underprivileged Behind?

Yesterday was social media day in Memphis. SocialCamp Memphis brought together social media novices and pros to talk about…um, social media.  I sat in on a session about the future of news gathering in the era of social media.   As everyone talked about time was the only thing standing between social media’s overtaking traditional media as the most prevasive source of news and information, there was one very poignant question rasied: “if all the news moves online, what does that mean for those less fortunate not to have an internet connection nevertheless a computer?”

As newspapers are continued to be threatened my market pressures and fail, how do those underserved learn what’s happening in the world around them?  Of course, I referenced my earlier post about not printing six issues a week, but then started to wonder about not everyone having access to the news.  We discussed how important a newspaper was to the community it served. Someone mentioned people running to the library computers to get the news.  Another brought up the demographics endangered of falling behind were youth, elderly and poor.

And because there were a bunch of geeks in the room, the discussion turned back to technology, more specifically, the emergence of mobile devices. The emergence of smart phones hopefully will neutralize this emerging media.  I brought up some demographics of iPhone users and may have misspoke, a little, so I wanted to claify:

Here are the household income and growth percentage stats from comScore’s iPhone 3G launch study over June, July, and August 2008:

  • Under $25,000 – 16 percent
  • $25,000 to $49,999: 48 percent
  • $50,000 to $74,999: 46 percent
  • $75,000 to $99,999: 3 percent
  • $100,000 or more: 16 percent

(Source: ArsTechnica)

A Rubicon survey entitled ‘The Apple iPhone: Successes and Challenges for the Mobile Industry’ looked at the profile of iPhone users. They found that:

  • 50 percent of iPhone users are under thirty, and 15 percent are students.
  • Half of the iPhone users replaced conventional mobile phones (commonly the Motorola Razr) while 40 percent replaced other smartphones (such as Blackberrys and Windows Mobile devices).
  • 60 percent of users browse the internet at least once per day
  • Three quarters of users do more web surfing on the iPhone than on their previous device.

So, this post doesn’t necessarily offer up any solutions or answers to this digital divide, but I did find these stats of the mobile web (iPhone usage) interesting.

I want to know what you all think about this divide.  Curious to hear your thoughts about this gap in the online haves and have nots.


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One response to “Is Social Media Leaving the Underprivileged Behind?

  1. Pingback: SocialCamp: 100 Great Faces

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