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

Description of New Media and Data Sets

A Look Into Pinterest:

Pinterest is a social media website that essentially acts as a visual bookmarking tool allowing registered users to upload, save, share and manage various forms of expressive content such as recipes, “DIY” projects and crafts, travel ideas, images, videos, and much more. Users are able to interactively connect with, discover, and share creative ideas with other users. Upon entering the site, you are met with various pins or visual bookmarks, which can be managed and saved onto your own pinboard. Your pinboard can be curated to your own interests. When you click on a pin, you are linked back to the original site it came from. This allows users to learn more about the particular pin—such as how to make a it or where to buy it (Pinterest.com). The original sites are either businesses or independent individuals with their own blogs and/or websites. Theoretically, Pinterest is intended for any individual with Internet access and this is seen in the fact that Pinterest has a wide array of language options to choose from. Moreover, in order to engage with Pinterest, one must create an account, which can be done by connecting through Facebook or providing an email and password. Navigating through the site and searching for content is fairly easy and there are step-by-step instructions on how to upload and save pins. 

Breaking Down the Data Sets: 

Data Set A is from the Pew Research Center on The Demographics of Social Media Users (2010), which looks at different demographic groups and the social media site they are most likely to engage with. I specifically examine the data on The Percentage of Internet Users Using Pinterest, which is divided by gender, race and ethnicity, age, educational attainment, household income, and urbanity. Overall 15% of total Internet users who were surveyed use Pinterest. The data reveals that “whites, young people, the well educated, those with higher income, and women are the most likely to use Pinterest”(Pew Research Center, 2013:5). Focusing on race alone, roughly 18 percent of Whites, 10 percent of Hispanics, and only 8 percent of African Americans engage with this social media platform. The various demographic categories shown on this data set reflects a significant issue: ICT use and participation is not limited to race and ethnicity alone and many of these categories are correlated with one another. 

​Data Set B is from the Pew Hispanic Center on Latinos and Digital Technology, which analyzes digital technology use patterns among Latinos, whites and African Americans in 2010. I take a closer look on the data set that examines Technology Use by Race and Ethnicity. Set up as a bar graph, the graph shows the percentage of Hispanics, whites, and blacks that have (1) internet access, (2) home broadband access, and (3) a cellphone. What we find is that Latino/as and African Americans trail behind whites in all categories. This matters because as one might suspect, greater access to digital technologies and services allows for greater opportunities for individuals to engage in the creation and distribution of content. 


This page has paths:

This page references: