Race and the Digital: Racial Formation and 21st Century Technologies


What Does the Data Set Say?

 The data set I am analyzing was created by the Pew Research Center on February 14, 2013. They sampled "2,261 adults, age 18 and older" (Demographics, pg 12).  The Pew Research center collected their data through telephone interviews that were conducted in Spanish and English. This data includes information regarding the usage of social media within different ethnicities and ages. The social medias included in this report are Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook. Their focus is to see what age, race, and social economic status are the users on social media websites.

After observing the data I notice that a majority of people using Twitter live in Urban areas. The age group with more Twitter users are people ranging from 18 to 29 with 27%. It seems African Americans tend to use Twitter more than other ethnicity with 26%. There is not much of a difference in percentage when it comes to their household income and education which all seem to be in the same range. I feel Twitter was created for the young adults living in this fast pace world.

In Theorizing Digital and Urban Inequalities  by Melissa Gilbert she mentions the research in critical race, and gender. The ideas that are researched are "the role of technology in the politics of identity [and]... women/racialized minorities as technology users, producers, and innovators not just victims of the digital divide" (Gilbert, pg 1004). In an attempt to show minorities as creators I mentioned the use of Twitter for minority activism and representation. It is true that minorities are victims of the Digital Divide but this does not mean they cannot be more than this. I wanted to make sure I represented different minorities making themselves known to the public. Whether it was activism or through the support of same race content creators.
In terms of the data set, there leaves a lot to be desired. While it covers the basics, Gilbert brings up a good point that there needs to be more of a "developed conceptualization of power and inequality" (Gilbert, pg 1006). What goes on in a household can determine how minorities are using ICTs. There is also a lack of other minorities. There is no mention of Native Americans or Asian Americans on this data set. There is only White, Black, and Hispanic. A lack of more minorities makes this data set slightly disappointing.

In Lisa Nakamura's Measuring Race on the Internet: Users, Identity, and Culture Difference in the United States she mentions how there is a lack of proper data sets that include Asian Americans. Nakamura mentions one of the issues of surveys is because they "do not survey in Asian languages," (Nakamura, pg 172). This data set mentions they only conducted surveys in English and in Spanish. I understand it would be difficult to survey for Asian languages because of the variety (Chinese, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, etc) but for a more accurate representation the effort should be made. I mentioned a page dedicated to squashing any stereotypes Asian women faced.
Another point Nakamura makes is the "[failure] to measure digital production in favor of measuring access or consumption" (Nakamura, pg 172). While this data set gives me the facts on who and where Twitter is being used there no section for production. Part of the issue with the digital divide is the lack of production seen by 
minorities. Surveys like these only perpetuate the idea of minorities being victims of the divide without factoring production or participation. 


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