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November 3, 2007

Do Not Disconnect - The Real Digital Divide

Photo expression of digital isolation the real digial divideDo you remember how a couple of years ago the expression "The Digital Divide" was in vogue? It referred to the "haves" and "have-nots" of the digital world, and especially with reference to those who didn't have access to the internet.

To me the real digital divide is actually the way modern technology isolates us from our communities, and none more so than "personal listening devices" which started with the Sony Walkman and Discman which were launched respectively in 1979 and 1984, which seems like prehistoric digital time. 1979 was actually the year that I started university, and they were hot, albeit expensive items, just like iPods, Zunes, and iPhones are today.

Living as I do these days in Southern California, I already feel the isolation that is imposed upon us by the car. But now it seems that even those who live in urban centers where there is mass transport isolate themselves willingly and voluntarily by means of their iPods and laptops.

As much as has been brought to us by means of "social networking" sites on the internet, it seems to me has been taken away by the other hand of technology. The isolation brought on by modern technology seems to be the "fly in the ointment", or should I say, the "fly on the iPod". When I see the message on the screen of my iPod that says "Do not disconnect" I try and hear it as a plaintiff voice from the "ghost in the machine", a voice that conveys the message that it is at the mercy of my hand reaching for the "off" switch.

"Do Not Disconnect: The Real Digital Divide" - Social commentary digital art

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