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


A quick glance @Instagram:
            Although Instagram contributes to the digital divide, it is indeed a popular national Web service. Here is some background information on the popular app, for the readers that perhaps have no knowledge of its existence, such as my grandmother (all jokes aside). According to Wikipedia, the initial release of Instagram was October 6, 2010 as a free mobile app. The original founders of Instagram were Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. As of December 2014, Instagram has over 300 million users! The number of photos uploaded has exceeded over one billion photos. Users can upload photographs, short videos, follow other users’ feeds, and geotag images, meaning pinpointing them on a map. Users are also able to connect their Instagram accounts to other social networking accounts that they may obtain such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. Recently Instagram has allowed users to personalize their accounts more with a section for biographical information and has added an instant messaging feature.

Crunching the numbers:
          Now going back to the statistical data mentioned previously, “ “The Demographics of Social Media Users-2012” by the Pew Research Center, provides information on the demographics of different social medias, one of them being Instagram. The table titled “Landscape of Social Medias” informs its readers on the type of users that the social medias appeal to. Beside Instagram we can see adults from the ages of 18-29 who are African-Americans, Latinos, and women that reside in urban residents are the most appealed to the Web service/phone app. 

            Another important table shown in the research data, is titled Instagram (% of users who use Instagram, being 13%). Thistable gives the breakdown of the demographics of Instagram users, from Internet users, that include: gender, race/ethnicity, age/education attainment, household income, and urbanity.  As a viewer can see, more women are users of Instagram than men. From the race/ethnicity section, Black, Non-Hispanics have the greatest percentage from Internet users. The age section shows that those from the ages of 18-29 utilize Instagram, with 28% from Internet users. The education attainment is greatest with some college. The household income of the greatest number of users is less than $30,000 per year. And finally urbanity has Instagram   users mostly residing in urban areas with 17% of Internet users.
           A reader may ask so what? These are just statistics, right? No, they are actually not just statistics. These statistics have a significant meaning, which is that they contribute to the digital divide. Shelia R. Cotton, Hiroshi Ono, Anabel Quan-Haase, Gustavo Mesch, Wenhong Chen, Jeremy Schulz, Timothy M. Hale & Michael J. Stern (2015) in their Digital inequalities and why they matter will show the digital inequalities that can be created due to the substantial demographic differences. And Eszter Harigittai & Gina Walejko (2008) contribute their correlation on creativity and Internet usage within their article, The participation divide: Content creation and sharing in the digital age.

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