FOMO. The fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great.” (Urban dictionary, 2016)
FOMO is something I’m sure has been experienced by everyone. Often it is the case that you perceive to be missing out on something great, but this may not be the reality.
Now imagine the level of FOMO that is experienced from people who lack internet access. Is this fear realistic, or is it simply perceived?
Living in the developing world, often the matter of the digital divide is forgotten. Lack of Internet is a persisting issue, with 60% of the world’s population forecasted to be left offline by the end of 2013 (Kelion, 2013).
The graphic below relates to the Digital Divide, defined as “The Existence of gaps in society between those who use technology and those who don’t” (Ball, 2011, p. 56)
(Image created by me)
This video outlines the reasoning behind the Digital Divide, and how the term has evolved over time
(Video created by me)
So the question poses, do people who lack internet access miss out in reality?
Knight (2012) outlines how differences in access can lead to differing views of inclusion and exclusion – the issue of exclusion being unethical. He further discusses how it can hinder chances of employment and education (ibid.)
With regards to education, even the term FOMO, would people who lack internet access know this term? This shows the realm of knowledge that those who lack internet access are missing. This relates to Topic 1, which discussed the benefits of social learning.
In Topic 3 I highlighted the prevalence of social recruiting. Further emphasising this, 80% of Fortune companies post job applications online only (Furlong, 2014)- leaving those who lack internet access fewer opportunities for employment. Adults who lack computer skills to further their application and build upon job skills are marginalised within the employment sector (ibid.). 50% of today’s jobs require technology skills, such as basic Microsoft skills (ibid.) – people lacking these miss employment opportunities, and fail to move out of their lower class.
The issue of exclusion is not the most prominent ethical issue, especially when contesting against issues of identity theft, as discussed in Kleinman’s article (2015), or lack of privacy as exemplified by Greenwald’s video (2014). However, its importance is depicted by the repercussions it has on people’s lives. It results in lack of ability to escape social class, social class being the issue that leads them to being losers of the digital divide in the first place.
References (including those used for creation of graphics):
- Ball, J. 2011, I mix what I like: A Mixtape Manifesto¸ AK Press, Oakland.
- Furlong, L. 2014, The Ethics Behind the Digital Divide, [Online], Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcUw_D2I_wU [accessed 2016, November 25].
- Gao, N., Marks, D., Peterson, A. and Shiu, C. 2016, [Online], Available: https://cs.stanford.edu/people/eroberts/cs181/projects/2004-05/political-action/ethicalissues.html [accessed 2016, November 25].
- Greenwald, G. 2014, Why privacy matter, [Online], Available: http://www.ted.com/talks/glenn_greenwald_why_privacy_matters [accessed 2016, November 22].
- Kelion, L. 2013, Uk jumps up internet scoreboard as digital divide grows, [Online], Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24426739 [accessed 2016, November 21].
- Kleinman, Z. 2015, Who’s that girl? The curious case of Leah Palmer, [Online], Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31710738 [accessed 2016, November 21].
- Knight, S. 2012, The Digital Divide – an issue of ethics?, [Online], Available: http://www.nominettrust.org.uk/knowledge-centre/blogs/digital-divide-issue-ethics [accessed 2016, November 25].
- Urban Dictionary, 2016. Fomo, [Online], Available: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fomo [accesed 2016, November 25].
- Wiedor, A. Technology Ethics: The Digital Divide and Education, [Online], Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT7OC_1O5Go [accessed 2016, November 25].
- Ronson, J. 2015, How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life, [Online], Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?_r=2 [accessed 2016, November 7].
- Guardian. 2014, Twitter abuse: easy on the messenger, [Online], Available: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/24/twitter-abuse-abusive-tweets-editorial?CMP=twt_gu [accessed 2016, November 21].