This paper gives a brief overview of the ‘conventional’ digital divide (in the developing and the developed world) then examines the barriers posed by the technology skills needed to publish online and the lack of perceived relevance of the Internet to many people’s lives. It points out the difficulty alternative voices have in being heard online due to the operations of the power law. Lastly it examines the psychological benefits of self-publishing as outlined by alternative media theorists and discusses the importance of the Internet as an enabler of individual and group communication (mostly via email) rather than broadcasting. It concludes that it is through simple tools like email more than through attempts to echo or compete with mainstream media that new voices can be heard in the public sphere.
If you would like a copy of the paper please contact me. It is available for publication and it is free to read and circulate for non-commercial use - I would like to know why it interests you and would welcome comments.
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