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Cyberspace & The Digital Divide by Deniz Cengiz

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The term “cyberspace” was first used by the cyberpunk science fiction author William Gibson.

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"Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts... A graphical representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding..."

William Gibson, Neuromancer, 1984. 

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What is Cyberspace?

Cyberspace represents the new medium of communication.

The experience of time, distance, people, travel, shopping and information you encounter while in the world of the Internet. The only physical activity needed in cyberspace is using a keyboard and mouse.

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‘...the study of various social phenomena associated with the Internet and other new forms of network communication. Examples of what falls under cyberculture studies are online communities, online multi-player gaming, the issue of online identity, the sociology and the ethnography of email usage, cell phone usage in various communities; the issues of gender and ethnicity in Internet usage; and so on.’

Lev Manovich (2002)

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Bell’s definition: “cyberculture is a way of thinking about how people and digital technologies interact, how we live together… ways of life in cyberspace, or ways of life shaped by cyberspace, where cyberspace is a matrix of embedded practices and representations”

Paul Taylor describes everyday interactions with cyberculture as “living in the gap”.

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Where do we find cyberculture?

Online chat or messaging (SMS, e-mail, Msn, etc)

Social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc)

Discussion forums Peer to peer networks

(Limewire, torrent networks) Gaming networks

(Xbox Live, etc)

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What is cyberspace ?

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Digital Divide

The term digital divide refers to any inequalities between people who have access to digital technology – such as computers, Internet, mobile phones, etc. – and those who have very limited access or no access at all or the divide between those who use technology and those who do not.

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Old and New Digital Divide

“Old” digital divide - divide between those who have access to technology and those who do not.


New digital divide – divide between those who use technology and those who do not. (choice)

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World Internet Usage and Population Statistics

World region

Internetusers (2000)

Internetusers (2010)

Penetration(% population)

Growth(2000–2010) (%)

Africa 4,514,400 110,931, 700

10.9 2,357.3

Asia 114,304,000


21.5 621.8

Europe 105,096,093


58.4 352.0

Middle East 3,284,800 63,240,946 29.8 1,825.3

North America



77.4 146.3

Latin America/ Caribbean

18,068,919 204,689,836

34.5 1,032.8

Oceania/ Australia

7,620,480 21,263,990 61.3 179.0

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Key Factors

Income: The average Bangladeshi would have to spend more than eight years income to buy a computer, compared with just one month’s salary for the average American.

Cost of connection: Monthly Internet access charges are percent of the average monthly income: the US 1,2 percent, Bhutan 80 percent and Nepal 278 percent.

Education: Globally, 30 percent of Internet users have a degree from an institution of higher education.

Gender: Women account for 25 percent of users in Brazil, and 4 percent in Arab states.

Age: Most users in China and the United Kingdom are under the age of 30.

Language: English is used in almost 80 percent of websites, yet less than one in ten people in the world speaks the language.”


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Example:The Digital Divide

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Internet Access as a Human Right

In several countries, including Estonia, France, Spain, Finland, and Greece, Internet access is already a human right.

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The Leland Initiative

The Leland Initiative is a program of USAID (United States Agency for International Development) to improve internet connectivity in Africa.

“ The information revolution offers Africa a dramatic opportunity to leapfrog into the future, breaking out of the decades of stagnation or decline”. (World Bank,1995)

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Africa (1995)

Only1000 Internet users outside of

South Africa existed. Only 6 out of 53 African nations had

access to the Internet (including South Africa, Namibia, Ghana, Uganda, and Zambia).

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The Leland Initiative

The Leland Initiative achieved its greatest success in Mali, and limited success in Benin, Guinea, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda.

The Leland Initiative was not successful in Gambia, Mauritania and Nigeria.

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People to people power of net: Kiva

Kiva is a non-profit micro-finance organization. Kiva was founded in October 2005 by Matthew and Jessica Flannery, a husband and wife team.

According to Walker “with a few clicks you can help someone on the other side of the world and play a part in solving the problems of global inequality which so often seem insurmountable.”

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The question is…

Can the Internet help to create a more equal world?

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Digital Natives

Digital Natives are people who have grown up in the digital world using technology as a way to communicate, and understand society.

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Digital Immigrants

People who “were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in their lives, become fascinated by and adopted many or most aspects of the new technology.” (Prensky, 2001)

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The question is…

Should these digital natives learn the old ways or should their digital immigtant educators learn the new?

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Cyberspace & The Digital Divide by Deniz Cengiz

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1.Does the Internet Empower? A look at the Internet and ınternational Development by Deborah L. Wheeler

2.The dimensions of the Digital Divide by Lisa Servon 3.Cybercultures: Critical Concepts Media and Cultural Studies by

Daniel Bell 4.What is Cyberspace? Submitted By Waseem Saeed 5.The global digital divide as impeded access to content by Mira

Burri 6.Digital Divide Article by Göknur Ege 7.The New Digital Divide by by Toni Gzehoviak, Kasia Grabowska,

Dan, McPhillips, Sheila Cody 8.Economy, Politics & Culture in Cyberspace by Özgür Uçkan 9.Trapped in the Digital Divide: The Distributive Paradigm in

Community Informatics By Virginia E. Eubanks (DIGITAL DIVIDE DRAWS)State University of New York at Albany (SUNY), USA