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

Welcome to Instagram, a social media for the few! by Ashley Martinez-Munoz


            The digital divide is a controversial issue in the 21st century that does not receive abundant attention from the general population. The digital divide, as many people are not aware, refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern technology and information, and those that do not or have restricted access ("What Is," 1999). Such technologies include telephone, computers, Internet, and television, many items that we would refer to today as the mass medias or primary ways of communication. There are multiple components that contribute to such a gap existing in our modern society. One of these components just so happens to be something that multiple people favor and could not go a day without, social medias. A person today can look up “social media” within the Merriam-Webster dictionary, or perhaps more preferred the website, and see that it is defined as “forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content [such] as videos ("Merriam-Webster").” A popular social media that has sprung up in the recent years has been something called Instagram. Interestingly enough even the word Instagram can be looked up electronically to view its definition as being, “the name of an online photo sharing social Web service that lets you share your life with friends through a series of pictures captured with a mobile device ("Instagram," 2016).” Instagram is most popularly used as a phone application, but as the definition states it can be used on a Web browser via the Internet. Upon the definitions given so far, a reader may ask how does a photo sharing web service contribute to the digital divide? Recent statistical data, available to the public, reveal the demographic differences upon different social medias that are utilized within society, Instagram included. Multiple Instagram users, including myself, are color blinded to the personal contribution we are making to the digital divide. Color blinded in the sense that we do not see how race and other demographic components play a major role in the digital divide, and we are a part of it!

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