Sunday, November 18, 2012

Digital Divide Assignment

FYS Social Justice and Digital Media – The Digital Divide              November 16, 2012

Assignment over for Monday, November 19, 2012:
This is a 40 minute video of a presentation on the Worldwide Digital Divide by Michael Graham

We will be discussing this video on Monday.  In preparation, please answer the following questions:

1.)    Compare the topic of discussion in this video to the issues that we addressed during our discussion of the KONY 2012 video.
a.       This video mainly discusses the limit of knowledge in countries that don’t largely have internet access. Here in the United States, most people have constant access to the internet. That is not the case in many other countries. The lack of access to the internet creates a barrier against knowledge and they are unable to have the same access to knowledge that we do here. With KONY 2012, the people of Uganda have a limit of knowledge, but a different type of limit. The children are not largely educated, and often the boys are abducted to be in a child army. Regardless, they are not able to access any sort of outside knowledge and only know what they have grown up with.
2.)    Does the example Graham makes using the oldest map in existence about the limits of knowledge apply to the modern maps in the video?
a.       I found this example really interesting. He used the map to describe the limit of travel accessibility as well as knowledge. Later in the video, as he describes the amount of print journals, newspapers, and whatnot, he uses modern maps to describe a similar limit of knowledge. The United States has a huge availability to knowledge, as do Switzerland, France, and Germany, yet, most countries do not. So yes, the example of the oldest map does indeed apply here.
3.)    He makes the point that one obstacle to digital literacy is basic literacy.  Is it possible to use the internet without being literate?  What is your reaction to the gender disparity of literacy?
a.       I don’t think that it is realistically possible to use the internet without being literate. One has to be able to read. Without said literacy, one cannot use search engines, type in web addresses, nothing. Really, the internet cannot be efficiently utilized without basic literacy. As for the gender disparity, it goes to show that in those countries, women are far less educated and are thus, more illiterate. That’s horribly unfair… I feel like that should be the case.
4.)    There are three anecdotes at the end of the video that address the claim that technology alone can have a positive impact on the digital divide.  Write a blog entry based on one of them according to your last name.  The blog entry should take the 2-4 minute segment of the video as a starting point about the general topic being addressed.  Your blog entry should start with referencing the clip, but you should bring in additional material that you find on the subject to support or reject the point being made in the larger context.
a.       A-G Makmende Amerudi!
b.      H-M Feodor Vassilyev
c.       N-Z Kenyan Conference in Nairobi

Makemende Amerudi
            In this video, Graham references Makmende, who is a fictional character who became a viral internet sensation in Kenya. As people attempted to make Wikipedia pages for him, the page would get deleted supposedly because it was irrelevant and focused on someone that isn’t even a real person. In reality, the page editors were not from Kenya and could not understand the importance Makemende had in that region. It wasn’t until national news bases reported on the issue that Makmende’s page would stay online without it being immediately deleted. On the Wikipedia page for Makmende Amerudi, it explains that the name Makmende is a mispronunciation of Clint Eastwood’s line in “Sudden Impact”, “make my day”, which resonates with people all over the world. This symbol grew to stand for people everywhere doing the impossible task, and it had a huge resurgence in recent years, originally brought on by the musical group Just A Band in their music video for their song Ha-He in 2009. “Makemende Amerudi” is Swahili for “Makemende is back”, and the Makmende website was the most visited website by Kenyans in 2010.
            In watching the Ha-He music video, despite the fact that the music is rather catchy, I can’t lie; I don’t really see the relevance that Makmende has. I don’t really grasp why he has such a strong following in Kenya. However, I understand that this is because I obviously don’t live in Kenya and I’m unable to comprehend why Makmende resonates with Kenyans. My lack of appreciation for Makmende does not make it irrelevant. I don’t understand why popular figures in America such as Justin Beiber, PSY, Carly Rae Jepsen (Ironically, none of these artists are even FROM America, but the point is still made) have such a huge following but that doesn’t mean that they are irrelevant. Just because I don’t understand, or a group of people does not understand, does not mean that a webpage promoting the person should cease to exist. It’s rather inspiring that a group of internet-literate Kenyans were able to make a webpage for Makmende and every time it got deleted, they kept remaking it and remaking it until it got media attention and was able to stay online.

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