Back in August 2015 I was introduced to the term “Digital Divide” and educated on the impact that it has on individuals, communities, nations, and their access to information. There is no classroom lesson that could have been more impactful than the real life experience the KSU MAIGC Cohort 2016 lived during our visit to China.
The first realization that the restriction on the flow of information was real came when I realized that CNN was the only English speaking channel that was available to us at hotel in Beijing. My initial thought was “there is likely not a lot of Americans here so the demand for US news channel is probably not that significant”. However, I quickly noticed that every time a news story came on about China CNN would go dark and when it came back the story involving China would be over, it was as if CNN was sharing some top secret information that the public should hear!
Next came the issue of internet connections. Let’s just say the ability to connect was spotty at best and rarely constant. On those limited times that we could connect we would get kicked off randomly and often unable to re-establish a new connection. Another reality check associated with the internet was that sites and search engines are restricted, this issue rendered the Cohort unable to complete our assignments while abroad so those that went to China must complete them upon return to the US.
Lastly, for those that are joined at the hip with social media site like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn were quickly converted to WeChat. Not being a social buff myself, I cant say if there need to share was satisfied, but it certainly can in handy as a mean for the Cohort to stay connected.
The next time I feel like complaining about connection speeds to the internet I will certainly remember my connection experience in China!
The SoS Communicator
Daryl A. Renolds
Please Share any comments on your experience with the “Digital Divide”.