Cross The Digital Divide And Get Where You're Going Faster
I was recently at a conference of women business owners and I attended a break-out session about blogging. By the end of the session, I was struck by how many of the women in the room were digitally illiterate. These were highly successful and intelligent women, but it seemed that many of them were fearful of technology. With technology affecting all aspects of our lives exponentially, I realized that their digital fear could become paralyzing and get in the way of their personal and professional success.
When we think of the digital divide traditionally, it focused on access to the Internet, computers, software and education. That division hasn't gone away. It has shifted, but it's still a critical issue - especially when we look globally at the developing world.
In the United States, there is an income digital-divide with more than 62% of households with incomes over $100,000 subscribing to high-speed broadband at home, while just 11% of households with incomes below $30,000 subscribing. There is also a rural/urban digital divide: Only 17% of adults in rural areas subscribe to broadband compared to 31% in urban and 30% in suburban areas. 
Beyond the socio-economic factors, I think there is another digital divide that is perceptual. If you have the access to technology, but you don't use it to your advantage, you're throwing away your ticket to the great digital concert. You're wasting an opportunity that many people don't have and potentially affecting your ability to succeed in the future.
If you see yourself as a digital disaster, it's not too late to learn and take the digital dive.
Five Ways to Take the Digital Dive
In Project Management, being digitally proficient is a key part of your success. You can use web-based tools like the Wiki to manage your teams and projects or web meetings to bring a virtual team together. The more technology is working for you, the smarter your workflow will be.
- Think of what technology or software skills would improve your performance. Sign up for a class online and experience e-learning.
- Spend time with your IT friends or colleagues. Pick their brains. Ask them what they read online and what sites and blogs they visit.
- Choose a topic that you're passionate about, do an Internet search and begin reading and participating in a blog that speaks to you.
- Watch your children or the youth around you. See how they communicate. Text message your favorite niece. Build a profile on FaceBook or MySpace. Get in the groove with where the next generation is going.
- If you're a project manager, make sure you're using technology to automate processes. Always ask yourself: Can this be automated?
How technology savvy are you? Try our technology crossword puzzle and see how you rate. No matter what you score, remember the game isn't over, it's just beginning. So, get out there and change your view. See yourself as part of the digerati, and you will be. See you online!
About the Know How Network
The Know How Network is a monthly column written by Michelle LaBrosse, the founder and Chief Cheetah of Cheetah Learning. Distributed to hundreds of newsletters and media outlets around the world, the Know How Network brings the promise, purpose and passion of Project Management to people everywhere.
1 According to speedmatters.org, a site managed by the Communications Workers of America
About The Author
Michelle LaBrosse is the founder of Cheetah Learning, and author of Cheetah Negotiation and Cheetah Project Management. The Project Management Institute, www.pmi.org, recently selected Michelle as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the World, and only one of two women selected from the training and education industry. She was featured in the October 2006 issue of PM Network Magazine, and also graduated from the Harvard Business School's Owner President Managers (OPM) program in March 2006.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.
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