How badly does slow response speed come off to people more plugged in than I? Is 21 hours in fact an eternity? Are my limitations only barriers in my own head and insignificant out there in the Internet community? Are they in other would-be Internet participants’ heads, stopping them from trying?
Really, whining is not what I’m trying to do. My purpose is to highlight what unequal access means for people through my own, “not exactly roughing it” experiences.
One of my frustrations has been that the internet is self-propagating. To find networking answers, for example, I found that what I needed was an internet connection. <ironic sigh> What I mean to say is, the poor get poorer. Ancient phenomenon, modern medium.
The other thing is, typical solutions (“Eh, just go to the library”) don’t work. It’s almost never about just popping onto a computer for an hour to take care of a couple of things. It’s much broader than that. To stay current with what’s happening on the internet, you (or at least I) need to be on it. Yes, part of staying current does include the latest drunk pictures my friends from high school posted on Facebook. But part of it is reading blogs like Beth Kanter’s (and following the recommended links), or establishing myself in the nonprofit Twitterpack, or just poking around and seeing what I find. Popping over to the library once a week doesn’t really cut it.
The nature of the beast is that without home internet access, you’re cut off from not only important “putter time,” but also from the best resources about the resource.
My home internet went down a few months ago. My Internet provider says it’s a problem with my computer. My computer service people say it’s a problem with my Internet provider. I find myself stuck in the middle with no home internet access.
Now, cut to my professional life: I work for a nonprofit and am the de-facto tech guru of my group within the organization. Much of what we expect of the people we work with is online, whether it’s learning English, filling out their timesheets, or applying to be part of our programs. We always tell people that if they don’t have Internet at home, they should just go to the library and get access there, or just use the Internet at work, or just go to a coffee shop. No problem.
Well, problem. Many problems. And that is what and how I am challenging myself to blog.