A buddy, Iggy Pintado, has just published a book called Connection Generation which talks about how connection determines our place in society and business.
It’s an interesting idea and ties in nicely to my idea that the new digital divide is not between age cohorts, nor is it between the geeks and others. Rather the new digital divide is about our willingness to be connected.
The digital divide is not really about access to technology any more, except possibly for the poorest in our society. And, with the growth in social networking and the ease with which ordinary people can use it, individuals are now confronting a choice about how connected they really want to be.
People who have avoided any consideration about how connected they are to friends, family and businesses are now being forced to confront this issue.
Changes in technology, like the iPhone, are driving this change in people’s behaviour. But still we are seeing people of every age choosing not to connect with social networks, mobile phones, email or the internet. While others are embracing this new connectedness and integrating it into their lives.
Are you part of the connected generation? Check out this Facebook application if you want to find what kind of connector you are.
A really big question is what impact does the degree of connection an individual chooses have on their personal or professional lives? How will our desire or distaste for being connected determine our future?
BTW: I know Facebook has gone mainstream because my Auntie Doreen sent me a friend request earlier today.
Seth Godin makes an interesting point about a new digital divide:
“I think a new divide has opened up, one that is based far more on choice than on circumstance. Several million people (and the number is growing, daily) have chosen to become the haves of the Internet, and at the same time that their number is growing, so are their skills.”
This is a fairly Darwinian point about people who choose to accept the new medium and develop new skills. Although, the ‘old’ digital divide is still with us and many people do not have access to the internet there is a growing gap between those who embrace technology and those who do not.
Daniel’s points are all too true! Australia is a broadband backwater and it is all due to the incompetence of Telstra. They have a number of practices that have worked against take-up of these solutions. So much for the clever country?
It says that by 2008 only 13% of Australians will have broadband.
It’s not surprising really, Telstra can’t even ADSL enable my 3 year old estate that is less than 20 km from the CBD of a major city. The report by IDC sites a service in France: ‘consumers could get a bundled service offering free phone calls, 2Mbps ADSL and TV ‘for about a third of the price of what you could get in Australia’
I think the root of the problem is simply Telstra. It should never have been privatized, now instead of providing a community service, it is concerned with meeting shareholders expectations. Instead of ADSL enabling my housing estate which would have taken a long time to repay the outlay, Telstra opt for the minimum requirement of just ensuring basic telephone services.
Most Australian’s don’t really understand why geeks and IT professionals hate Telstra so much, some of our friends think that I’m being totally unreasonable when I say that Telstra has made Australia a primitive technological nation. What these people don’t usually see is the high cost of basic services (how often does Telstra put up your phone bill?), the late adoption of services and poor customer service. “