The idea of web publishing is both exciting and terrifying.

The possibility of a truly democratic medium, without the intervention of more privileged people, is exciting. The revelation that we are all now equally the more privileged people in virtual space is terrifying.

The majority of people in the world are unable to publish thier thoughts, hopes, fears, beliefs. Is self-expression a human right?

I can’t shake the feeling that I am enacting some form of torture as a virtual tourist, constructing as many realities as I desire- slipping in and out of materiality.

Many people are stuck in material places such as prisons, hospitals, military barracks, slums, refugee camps. They might use their imaginations to leave the places in which they dwell but the internet provides infinite imagination, instant creativity.

Are we to revel in the fact that we are complicit in torture by writing in our diaries and then revealing our diaries? Web publishing is free because we offer to advertise. Advertising, however, is not free. We all pay but it is more costly for some people who did not have a choice to begin with.

Instant web publishing, like most public transnational instruments, is useful for somethings yet destructs other things. For example, it is useful for education and self-awareness. But it is destructive if some people have access while others remain outside of the technological revolution.

The moral question of web publishing is in the company of many other moral questions. There is no clear answer about how we should proceed, but we proceed anyway.

Instant web publishing allows me to address everybody and nobody at once. It is instantly gratifying yet craves for more recognition. I think this is the postmodern paradox, where the possibilities for fulfillment exist like never before, where fulfillment does not exist.

SOME STATISTICS:

The digital divide cuts through the globe among income and education levels.

For instance:

About 429 million, or 6%, of the world’s population is online

Barely 2% of the world’s pop out of 6 billion are linked to the internet

North Americans represent 41% of all online technology users

About 27% of the online population lives in Europe, the Middle East or Africa

About 25% of European homes have online access

About 20% of the online population is from Pacific Asia

About 33% of all Asian Homes have online access

Only 4% of the world’s online population are in South America

In the US women have surpassed men in internet access and use 51%

In the US internet access costs a user 1% of average monthly -in Uganda it costs more than a month’s average per capital income

80% of the world’s population has never made a phone call, let alone have used the internet

Source: First Quarter 2001 Global Internet Trends, Neilsen/Netratings / Digital Divide Network

Advertisements