Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Internet Division and Internet Unity

As I am watching the Presidential election results there are a couple of things that I am considering.

First, the importance of the Internet and social media for the presidential candidates and second the importance of the Internet for Americans across the nation. Candidates used social media sites to inform voters of the Presidential election. Wessels mentions that, “26% of aged 65 and older go online, compared with 67% of those aged 50-64, 80% of those aged 30-49%, and 84% of those aged 18-29” (Wessels, 111). Although these numbers are from years ago, I think that they still resemble the current demographic of Internet users. If anything it has only increased in the past couple of years. The Internet has allowed for a different way of information diffusion. However, we cannot forget about those individuals that still don’t have access to Internet or might not have the computer literacy levels as the other Americans.  Wessels points out that simply having access is not enough. There are other components that impact the digital divide.

One interesting event that came up was the option for New Jersey residents to vote until Friday due to the conditions of the state. However, in order to qualify for this option Americans had to register online and would submit their ballots through email. It sounds like a great option for displaced New Jersey resident BUT it isolates Americans that might not have access to the Internet or the knowledge of the Internet. Even here in the United States there is a sort of expectation that everyone knows how to navigate through the Internet and the Word Wide Web, which is not true. For some of us the Internet has become part of our every day lives but that can’t be said about everyone.

“It is through everyday life and communication that the shape of social experience is formed, performed and expressed” (Wessels, 141). We are now part of a new era where participation is key. It is a new form of communication that creates a social experience for all of us. As my Facebook newsfeed becomes flooded with Obama statuses, it’s clear that we resort to expressing how we feel through the Internet. We communicate our experiences to all of our friends and family. Even though I’m sitting in my apartment watching Obama’s victory, I still feel connected to those cheering in Sproul just a couple of hundred of feet away!


  1. It is very interesting how the Internet truly impacted the elections. My family is very involved in politics, but my dad was driving when the results were first announced and did not have the radio on. My younger sister was on facebook on her phone and was the one to inform him that Obama had won. It is crazy that the internet is so pervasive, as Wessells states, as it was facebook was the way my politically active father was informed of the election results.

  2. Good point regarding the New Jersey vote extension. With this election, we saw quite a bit of voting-related shenanigans (early voting cancellations, voter ID restrictions, confusing voter instructions, ridiculously long lines) designed to limit people's ability to vote, so I think we need to be very careful about how the Internet gets used to either enfranchise or disenfranchise people.