New Media, Innovation and User (Dis)Empowerment in Europe

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Digital divide is a new concept in revealing social discrepancy, with the advance of ICT and the WWW, it became an issue for governments and policy makers. Basic assumption about digital divide is not having access or not using a PC and Internet. Other believe such definition needs to be clarified, it represents an “universal access or simply access to computers and the Internet” (van Dijk, 2008), as it implies access to other digital equipment as well. At the same time, he shows that universal access in rich countries means household access for everybody, as in developing countries it is perceived as a luxury, therefore, the term is ambiguous and often hard to define. Other scholars identify the term digital divide as “a gap between those who have access to the latest information technologies and those who do not” (Compaine, 2001). On a different stages in the history, following Compaine (2001) idea, there was a division between those who knew how to farm and those who did not, between those who knew how to use industries’ tools and those who did not and , nowadays between those who know how to use ICT and those who don’t. We will argue in this paper, that digital divide is a reality, standing on the side of those who see it as an issue of the current information society.

Researchers believe, it would be probably more suitable to talk about digital inequalities, and get rid of such approach as “haves” and “have-nots” , as the dichotomy is not expressing the nowadays digital divide phenomenon, the digital inequality is seen as a more appropriate term defining this concept (DiMaggio & Hargittai, 2001; Mariën, 2012). As Mariën, (2012) uses Bianchi et al. (2006) definition of digital inclusion to express the continuous a...

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