A project I am working on, has me wondering about the disconnect between the digital haves and have/want-nots and the impacts of this digital divide. This higher-ed marketing project requires me to contact academics and institutions throughout the world.
An educator in Iraq confessed
… in my country this service ( buying books from internet ) not exist…
This is understandable, given the turmoil in that country. The infrastructure is obviously in disarray.
A leading academic in India indicated that many professors in rural areas felt their jobs were threatened by efforts to provide high quality, free higher-ed to the masses. This results in a situation in which the very people who should be actively encouraging technology adoption, are reluctant to do so. In this case, human insecurities were the culprit rather than any infrastructural limitations.
My experience shows me that even in developed nations the argument for and against technology in pedagogy is ongoing.
All this presents unique marketing challenges and I have had to adopt a multitude of tactics including telemarketing and direct mail campaigns in addition to email, SEO, Social Media, CPC/CPM etc. Suffice to say that a digital only marketing strategy would fail to tackle the complexity and objectives of this particular project.
It is fun; challenging too, considering that some faculty and students prefer traditional, hard copy learning material while others demand product support for multiple platforms and devices. Since the product development is also handled by my team, all this keeps us pretty busy, but I digress.
Where does the digital divide lead?
On one side there is a section of society that seems to devote considerable amounts of time to a virtual world, complete with a sub-culture of content creation, sharing/curation, ecommerce; even social scoring and social stock trading.
On the other, there are those who are unable to access a simple online transaction.
Will this divide get more entrenched? Will it lead to a point where it so great that there is a complete social, economic and cultural disconnect between the digitally immersed and the digitally reluctant?
Do you think that this digital divide will add to the pre-existing schisms in the world? Or will technology ultimately triumph as the unifier that many of us envisioned it to be?