Communication Methods in America and the Digital Divide in the Era of Technology

by Eli Mshomi

With the prevalence of the internet and the onslaught of modern-day technologies, the dynamics of communication are changing, not only in America but across the globe.

In the United States today, most people use text messages and email to communicate. While Whatsapp is still gaining ground, more than 85 percent of Americans use email. With this massive majority of Americans having email accounts, even Whatsapp users do not come near them.

Common Communication Media in America

The most prevailing applications used for communication in the United States are:

Communication Medium Number of Americans Using
Facebook Messenger  138 million
Snapchat 88 million
WhatsApp 75.1 million
Messenger by Google 20 million
Google Hangouts 16.9 million
Skype 5.53 million

 

Text Message Dominate the Messaging Infrastructure

Text messages still dominate the national landscape in the messaging regime in the United States, as 81 percent of Americans text regularly, despite the presence of free services like Whatsapp.

Reportedly almost 6 billion texts are circulated every day in America, which signifies the importance of this communication system.

The wealth gap in America, which is the result of various factors, determines which communication medium is best for which social group of the country.

Due to the pervasive wealth gap, low-wage Americans are mostly away from technologies for a variety of reasons. First, many of them are unable to afford expensive devices, which paves the way toward the digital divide in the country.

Similarly, they are unlikely to develop an interest in these devices. The divide of color is also impacting how people use their digital gadgets.

Only 76 percent of Americans who earn less than $30,000 per year own a smartphone, compared to the national average of 85 percent. Thus the high digital divide is evident from data, which impacts the overall communication dynamics in the United States.

 

Improving Internet Access for the Sake of Human Rights

With the passage of time, as the acquisition of smartphones is increasing, the usage of WhatsApp is also increasing, which can change the communication method quite rapidly in the near future.

Text messages are very much likely to be replaced by Whatsapp communication in the near future, especially once smartphones reach each and every American.

Internet freedom is considered one of the fundamental human rights in the whole world. However, the restricted and limited access to the internet in some far-flung areas is already making matters worse for many Americans.

This digital divide can only be eliminated using the following methods:

  • Sponsoring affordable internet service for everyone for better connectivity.
  • Enhancing the internet enables devices to help people increase their outreach.
  • Increasing digital literacy training
  • Providing qualitative technical support
  • Improving the doctrines of self-sufficiency for people to close the digital gap.
Do you think Internet blockade is a real thing in America?

Final Thoughts

The onslaught of the coronavirus has resulted in the longevity of this discrimination being perpetrated against those with lesser access to technology.

Online education has also impacted people with lesser access to technology, as they were unable to communicate with classes compared to students with better access to internet facilities.

This can only be fixed if the government takes immediate steps to increase the participation of people from every corner of the country in the national discourse.

With proper communication channels, people are highly unlikely to know about their rights, and this results in the birth of even more evils. Otherwise, the curses like voter suppression, racial inequality, and the wealth gap will continue increasing for years to come.

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