The Web is Not Democratic: The Affluent Dominate Here too

by Tanya Thomas on  June 12, 2011 at 11:55 PM Lifestyle News
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The popular belief is that anyone can publish content on the Internet and influence public opinion.

However, a new study from the University of California, Berkeley, has found that the social web, far from being a digital democracy, is being dominated by the opinions of the affluent.
 The Web is Not Democratic: The Affluent Dominate Here too
The Web is Not Democratic: The Affluent Dominate Here too

Although social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are playing pivotal roles in such pro-democracy movements as the Arab Spring, the majority of today's bloggers are affluent, college-educated people.

"Having Internet access is not enough. Even among people online, those who are digital producers are much more likely to have higher incomes and educational levels," said Jen Schradie, a doctoral candidate in sociology at UC Berkeley.

She analyzed data from more than 41,000 American adults surveyed between 2000 and 2008 and found that college graduates are 1.5 times more likely to be bloggers than are high school graduates, twice as likely to post photos and videos and three times more likely to post an online rating or comment.

The results suggested that the digital divide for social media users is wider between the haves and have-nots than it is between young and old, and underscore growing concerns that the poor and working classes lack the resources to participate fully in civic life, much of which is now online.

"The working class is underrepresented on the Internet. Without their voices, their issues are ignored," said Schradie.

That chasm is unlikely to break down until everyone has a host of digital production tools at both home and work, she said.

"Conventional wisdom tells us that the Internet is leveling the playing field and broadening the diversity of voices being heard," she said.

"But my findings show the Internet is actually reinforcing the socio-economic divisions that already exist, and may even heighten them, which has all sorts of implications as more of civic and economic life moves online," added Schradie.

The finding appeared in the May online issue of Poetics, a Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media and the Arts.

Source: ANI

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University of California Berkeley Chancellor displaces qualified californians [working class] from public university education with $50,000 out of state foreign students. Until action is applied by the University of California (UC) Board of Regents to chancellors, like Birgeneau, UC shouldn’t come to the Governor or public for support for any tax increase. (The author has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at UC Berkeley (Cal) where he observed the culture and way senior management work) Cal. Chancellor Birgeneau ($500,000 salary) has forgotten that he is a public servant, steward of the public money, not overseer of his own fiefdom (these are not isolated examples): recruits (uses California tax $) out of state $50,000 tuition students that displace qualified Californians from public university education; spends $7,000,000 for consultants to do his and many vice chancellors jobs (prominent East Coast university accomplishing same 0 cost); pays ex Michigan governor $300,000 for lectures; in procuring a $3,000,000 consulting firm he failed to receive proposals from other firms; Latino enrollment drops while out of state jumps 2010; tuition to Return on Investment drops below top10; NCAA places basketball program on probation: absence institutional control. It’s all shameful. There is no justification for such practices by a steward of the public trust. Absolutely none. Birgeneau’s practices will not change. UC Board of Regents Chair Sherry Lansing and President Yudof must do a better job of vigorously enforcing oversight than has been done in the past over Chancellors who, like Birgeneau, see the campus as their fiefdom

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