Words of Wisdom for fellow Black Digerati’s…


Over the last year or so I’ve been studying the field of Social Informatics and how it relates to the minority community and more specifically African Americans. Social Informatics refers to the body of research and study that examines social aspects of computerization – including the roles of information technology in social and organizational change, the uses of information technologies in social contexts, and the ways that the social organization of information technologies is influenced by social forces and social practices.

What my studies have shown me, and what the data supports, is the new digital divide for African Americans is the digital ‘skills’ divide. What do I mean you might ask? Well, how many of you have an iPhone? How many of you are participating in the iPhone Application Development program? My point is to a large degree African Americans have mastered the art of consuming technology but not developing the technology that we consume. This pattern is problematic to the black community given the fact that we are overrepresented in unskilled jobs that will eventually be replaced with workers with computer skills. Many African Americans are employed in clerical positions in the financial industry which could soon become obsolete given the current United States economy.

Many initiatives have been started to combat this issue. An example would be the Black Family Network through their Black Family Technology Awareness Week campaign aimed at eliminating the Digital Divide by helping Black Families who aren’t taking full advantage of today’s technologies. This is an important initiative because these technologies can significantly improve their quality of life. To assist in closing the digital ‘skills’ divide I recently started a non-profit called Village Informatics which is a Technology Institute designed to provide technical skills education and training to minority communities. I ask you my fellow Black Digerati’s, what will be your contribution in closing the digital ‘skills’ divide plaguing our community? I leave your with some words of wisdom to ponder from Dr. Dhyana Ziegler the Assistant Vice President of Instructional Technology and Academic Affairs at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University:

“The Internet was an opportunity because it was colorless. It was an opportunity for Black people to market, produce, and package products. But Blacks did not use this opportunity. Even Blacks’ research and culture are not on the Internet. There’s no Black Google or Yahoo. Blacks are not in the development part of the Internet. We have not learned how to make money off of this technology. One could say that Blacks are left behind again. This time, however, it’s us. We are not stepping up to the plate.”

Mikey Digital

Source: The Black Digital Elite by John T. Barber





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