Digitage Web 2.0 by Ocean.flynn is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
The internet knows no boundary, and it brings significant economic chances for individuals in every country. Furthermore, the internet has allowed integration of people across the world, and it has made the world a global community. The development of the internet has also helped in improving people’s quality of life, as it has allowed individuals to have an open access to things that were previously inaccessible. More people are now connected to the internet, but even that being the case there is a lack of diversity when it comes to issues relating to diversity. Lack of diversity infers to that some individuals in the community are excluded or ignored, either passively or actively. Diversity is very important in any forum including the internet, because with diversity there is a chance for innovation and group think. At the moment diversity is not present, and lack of the same has resulted in a digital divide that has impacted, and also helped in developing the internet in terms of internet culture, language growth, and the growth of the economy through sharing economy. This is as a result of people trying to find a place where they can be accepted online. This paper examines the extent the lack of diversity has influenced the development of the internet, and the manner in which the lack of diversity harms individuals and society.
Bridging the Digital Divide
Lack of diversity has significant impact because as people struggle to find a sense of belonging they create their individual communities. For instance, lack of diversity has resulted in the creation of the internet culture, which infer to the values and beliefs of the makers of the internet. The internet culture is categorized through a four-layer structure, the virtual communitarian culture, the hacker culture, the techno-meritocratic culture, and the entrepreneurial culture. All these classes on the internet contribute to a belief of freedom, which is pervasive in the internet. The different cultures that are found on the internet resulted from lack of diversity and inclusion of all individuals on the internet, especially individuals in tech world. For instance, the virtual communitarian culture supplements the social dimension when it comes to technological sharing, as it makes the internet a method of emblematic belonging and choosy social relations. This is different from the entrepreneurial culture, which has been built around the culture of diffusing internet actions in every area of the social order by means of profitability. Therefore, in the event where all the individuals that works towards the development of the internet was integrated, and some individuals in the community were not excluded, then there would be significant growth. The rationale for this is that some of the cultures that have been built around the internet are not positive such as the hacker culture, because rather than build they destroy. Even that being the case, if diversity existed on the internet, then internet culture would be non-existent.
Sharing Economy is the New Norm
“Opportunity Infographic – The New Sharing Economy Study” by latddotcom is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Diversity is important because it allows more people to have increased opportunities in all aspects of life. However, in the event where diversity is lacking the minority in the community are excluded in the development or growth process. For instance, the lower class in China were not given the same economic opportunities as the middle and top class. However, with internet social commercial sites such as Alibaba, Amazon, and Taobao among others have created an opportunity for economic development, increasing the number of the lower class to the middle class. Furthermore, lack of diversity has helped in advancing sharing economies, which has subsequently helped in the development of the internet in the sense of regulations to protect the individuals using the internet for business transactions. Organizations that have tried to take advantage of its users on their website such as financial press has failed, and a good example of this is the New York Times, which abandoned the policy they had imposed to begin charging a premium for individuals to access their content. This is a clear indication that information access is becoming prevalent, and this can largely be attributed to lack of diversity, in the sense of allowing individuals who do not have the ability to pay for services. Quiggin noted that “innovation is coming from the collective contributions of individuals and households driven by a range of non-economic motives.” This goes to show that the development of the internet has resulted from the need of the excluded society to find a voice and space on the internet.
Language Diversity as a Human Right on the Internet
Lack of diversity hinders the development of the society as people who have something positive to contribute to the society cannot because such opportunities are not present. This is the same case with the internet, especially when it comes to the development of language. The internet has been biased in terms of the languages that it accommodates. It seems like the internet experience that people have is structured specifically according to specific language groups and codes, which radically limit the probability for many languages to be depended upon and used for online communication and engagement. The United Nations declared that access to the “internet is a human right,” and that every individual should be allowed access. However, the lack of diversity when it comes to the incorporation and integration of indigenous languages on the internet hinders this right to access the internet. However, over the years it is evident that the internet has begun to incorporate other languages to decrease the digital divide that currently exists. Additionally, as Bill Gates indicated “The internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” As such it is important to ensure that the internet becomes a digital town square where diversity is experienced through languages, which will in turn increase further integration, and increase cultural diversity on the internet.
Imminent Harms of Lack of Diversity
Evidently, lack of diversity causes great harm to the society, because it denies the excluded individuals and society an opportunity for growth, as well as an opportunity for competition, as the playing field is not level. For instance, in the event where the internet is only accessible to the select few in the society, then the minority are denied the opportunity for growth. Therefore, such lack of diversity has pushed people to become innovative and to find their own communities on the internet through various social media sites, as well as commercial sites that have allowed the sharing economy. Access to information is imperative for every individual and it is a human right to have information, but in the instance where there is lack of diversity, then some individuals are denied this right. Consequently, the internet has grown to an extent that it has allowed the excluded individuals to have a voice, and also to show case their talent in a now non-financial press as information is everywhere.
The internet has come a long way in terms of providing the society and individuals an opportunity for growth and access to other people, and cultures which would not have been possible without the advancement of the internet. The digital divide is being closed and more people have access to the internet, and in the coming years the development of language will further help in growing the internet, as it will ensure that more people particularly individuals from indigenous communities can share their culture freely. This is to say that even though the internet has grown there is still more room for growth, and in the coming future more and more people will have a space where they can express themselves, and carryout business without any form of fear of being excluded. This has been made possible by the ability of the people in the tech world to recognize the shortcomings that are there, and trying to be more inclusive in terms of increasing access to every individual.
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