Seth Godin has created a nice representation of the new Digital Divide.
A few years ago, pundits were quite worried about the Digital divide.The short definition is that the haves would have reliable, fast access to the Net, which would give them employment and learning opportunities that others wouldn’t be able to get. This would further divide those with a head start from everyone else. Wiring the schools in the US was one response to the threat of this divide.
I think a new divide has opened up, one that is based far more on choice than on circumstance. Several million people (and the number is growing, daily) have chosen to become the haves of the Internet, and at the same time that their number is growing, so are their skills.
Today, though, the Net is far more robust and far more ubiquitous than it used to be. And it’s bloggers who are setting the agenda on everything from politics to culture. It’s bloggers that journalists and politicians look to as the first and the loudest.
As a result, your most-connected, most influential customers are part of the digerati. They can make or break your product, your service or even your religion’s new policies. Because the Net is now a broadcast (and a narrowcast) medium, the digerati can spread ideas.Link
The only point I disagree on is the Flickr one. Although I could add more to what makes the divide different, I agree with Seth that it would make little difference which items were on the list, since the outcome would likely be the same.
What he notes about the divide is interesting. People who fit one of the criteria on either side are likely to fit more – that we’re likely to fit a side based on a pattern of behaviour common to many of us.
What is also interesting is the speed at which we divide is spreading. As well as being more likely to be a part of the Digerati, and quickly, by fitting one criteria, you’re also likely to stay on the bandwagon and adopt new technologies faster. So, if a new tool comes out, the rate of adoption is much much faster. And so the divide grows. If you get on earlier, your learning curve is much easier – you are adapted to using various technologies already and thus can pick up on the new ones much faster. If you jump on later in the race, you have to start from scratch and subsequently are more likely to get frustrated and have more work to catch up.
The advice from Seth, and me: don’t wait too long – the Digerati won’t wait for you.
Which side are you on?