As we all know, February is Black History Month. It’s a month where we honor those who have made an impact on American culture for equal rights, those who have invented, those who have a helped others and those who have inspired everyone to be the best they can be, not only as a person of color but as a human. Last year for Black History Month, I started an online series called 28 Days Diversity where I would feature someone new everyday during the month of February for just being awesome in their own right. Even though it’s black history month, the goal for 28 Days of Diversity is to feature not just African-Americans but other minorities in the web/tech space. Also note that 28 Days of Diversity is not a popularity contest or an influencer list but a list of thought leaders in the social web sector, including entrepreneurs, bloggers, conference organizers, IT professionals and friends not ranked in any particular order who I have either met in person or followed online. Each post will include a picture, bio, two links from the selected person and this paragraph.
For 2011 I wanted to not just feature individuals but also address a topic that affects everyone. For 28 Days of Diversity 2011 each post/person will answer the question “How can we use technology to close the digital divide?” So for the next 28 days, come back to visit SocialWayne.com/tag/28daysofdiversity and 28daysofdiversity.com to see who’s on the list. For day 21, I would like to introduce to some and present to others:
Henry Balanon create iPhone and iPad apps for his company Bickbot (http://bickbot.com). Most recently, they’ve completed an app for Stryker (http://stryker.com), a Fortune-500 medical technology company.
He is a national speaker on mobile technologies (mostly iPhone/iPad). Most recently TEDx, #140conf, and 360iDev. Every so often he’ll show up in some newspapers like the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, and the New York Times.
How can we use technology to close the digital divide?
I think the a big challenge with the digital divide is education on digital technologies. Digital technology is still tough to understand for people who aren’t exposed to it on a regular basis.
The traditional approach is to offer more training to those who need it but the real issue is a technology’s user interface and user experience.
Most people don’t seek out education on technology.
If people don’t know how to use something, they’ll resist using it.
If people hate using something, they’ll stop using it.
A few weeks ago, I saw an 18-month old find her favorite game on her mom’s iPad, and she knew exactly how to interact with it. I’ve heard similar stories about elderly and non-tech people becoming digital citizens when they received their iPads or iPhones.
We’re seeing all sorts of demographics enter the digital ages because people can use these tablets and smartphones with little or no effort to learn how to use it.
We will see the digital divide close very fast as we see more technology user experience improvements and user interaction improvements.
You can follow the status of 28 Days of Diversity 2011 on http://28daysofdiversity.com, http://socialwayne.com/category/28-days-of-diversity/ and syndicated on BlackWeb 2.0.