The Digital Divide has Changed…

The term “Digital Divide” I have used often in the past while I was involved with my town Chamber of Commerce and helping start the town’s Business Development committee… But since this term, Digital Divide started being used in the 90’s, high band web services are being offered more in rural America and computer prices have come down… Now the term means more of how people use computers and their technical understanding of it, or what I call the “Technical Challenged”…

So many adults and those with small business in rural America still are not using computers in their businesses, most often because of not understanding how to use the software or the technical challenge of understanding how to keep the computer safe…

This is where I believe my idea for an “Internet Café with a Micro Business Incubator within it can really help small business start and grow in small town America…

A few years ago (2000), when I started talking about this idea, combining an Internet Café with small business classes and business service, some of my friends said it wouldn’t be a viable idea as there are so many “Cyber Café’s”… I looked at one of my friends who said this and I said, “Hmmm to get to one locally, we have to drive 20+ miles, we don’t even have one in all of our county of nine town’s and that is also assuming you understand how to use a computer”… Many of my friends in this town with no stoplight, still don’t know how to turn on a computer, they are business owners or work for small businesses to large universities and in the 30’s-40’s + age groups- the “Technically Challenged”…

In my county, there was a cyber café, but I don’t believe it is open any more, the business got robed and the owners didn’t bother to re-invest in the two computers they offered for renting- the owners having moved away… So a county of over 54,000 people, there is no Internet café in it… And as I have traveled around New York State and down the east coast and spoke with many people online, this is very common in rural America; many small towns don’t have an Internet Café or places with Wi-Fi…

I stopped and spoke with people in small towns in my county, on my travels and online, I also got to find many truly don’t have much knowledge of the internet or the possible benefits of websites…

My town of just over 5000 people, the Chamber of Commerce had at one time 90 businesses, but only about 15 of them had websites and even fewer of them have heard of location-based applications… The capital of the county, with it having a history of having IBM and Lockheed Martin in it, also have no Wi-Fi locations, and very pour presents online… Many not understanding the difference in Good old-fashioned HTML Web standards… The county Government site even uses mostly PDF files for the notes from meeting, in a county that still have the majority population connects via dial up phones… PDF are still not very searchable and to download notes from a county site that are PDF- Print Document format, that take 20 minutes via a dial up phone connection just doesn’t keep the public truly informed… But many of these people are truly Tech Challenged- many not even knowing how to add a document to an e-mail, or even understanding how to set up a Pay Pal account to be able to order things online or sell things via e-Bay…

I don’t plan any longer to do this as a business here in this county, as I do plan on prepping my family farm to sell it and start the Business idea in Chincoteague, VA… I’ve done the research of the area, the business, the tourism and spoke to many people in that area, and it is just a perfect location for my Internet Café with a micro Business Incubator to help local business get their business online and help them with the new technology available for their business… I have also enlarged my Business plan to include additional cafes, so I might be able to locate a Grant or Angel Investor to help with creating jobs, small businesses to get online and business starts ups- to help reduce the Digital Divide of Rural America…

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7 Responses

  1. Hi Charles,

    I think to have a cafe – micro business incubator there is a minimum population requirement to make sure you have enough “critical mass” to populate your buisness. Also access to investors is very important.

    Ian

    • Ian,
      Thank you for your response and insight!!! For the town I am looking at there is enough population in the area to warrant this idea and type of business, I have support already from the town Chamber of Commerce and the area Small Business Administration.
      I agree with you, not all small towns have the populous can give enough business support to warrant a full sized and service internet café as I am describing or will be offering… But I also believe there could be at least one in each county across the country, to help rural America catch up with the Digital divide and helping create more business and jobs… Thank you for your comment and I also very much enjoyed your site, http://www.thecodefactory.ca

      Charles

  2. I have been posting here for long, I did find this post really worth of publishing to another forums and share with other friends, well I do it on your permission, coz I think this will help several other webmasters as well. If you will like this to shared on other forums as well, I will really like to help. I will post it with your name to make your work really help full for you as well! Keep up the good work, post more topics like this and I know the forum will really be proud of their best resources.

    • Let me know the site first, via Twitter @charlestaggart

  3. What you said sounds right. But, picture this, what if you included a little more? What i’m saying is, I dont tend to teach the way to write your website, but what if you added extra content which can grab peoples focus? Just simply like a video or maybe a graphic or perhaps two to have your readers psyched about what you are talking about.

    • Thank you for the comment… I am sorry the article didn’t seem o grab you without an image… As an Illustrator and Artist, I do know the value of imagery, but was really working on my writing without leaning on images at this point…

      Not all Blog article should need an image or video if they’re written well, just as most newspaper articles do not have an image or graphic to help tell the story…

      Is there something in the article that you didn’t understand?

      Again, thank you for your comment…

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by debbiemahler. debbiemahler said: RT @CharlesTaggart The Digital Divide has Changed… http://bit.ly/cKcdEP […]

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