Cloud: Where some see slavery, minorities see freedom

Summary:Many of you shared your fears of being enslaved to the Cloud. But groups who have traditionally been on the disadvantaged side of the digital divide are already using it to gain their respective freedoms.

Ok, I get it. No, really, I do. A vocal bunch of you have made it abundantly clear to me that you are afraid of the Cloud because you'll lose your individuality and you don't want to pay for subscriber services.

You'll never move to it because you have too much personal data to move, you'll never trust it due to security concerns, and it will never work for you because you're still using 56K dialup or worse, IP over Avian Carrier protocol or smoke signalling.

tablet-girl-iStock_000022886196Small

Yeah, whatever. You're still going to be assimilated . Have a nice day. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

Despite all this thrashing about there is a group of people who don't have these kinds of concerns, and have been eagerly joining the Cloud Continuum faster than any other demographic. 

I'm talking about minority groups. Especially Hispanics and Latinos. Tiene mucho amor por el Cloud.

While all of you have been doing your bitching and complaining about the Cloud, this group of people, who have traditionally been on the disadvantaged side of the digital divide, are now reaching parity with the privileged. 

How do I define privileged? Oh, I dunno. You can probably afford to own a PC and pay for basic residential broadband. And you're probably White.

A new study, released in March 2013 by the Pew Hispanic Research Center has determined that in a short three years, the gap between Whites and Hispanic use of of the Internet in the United States has closed by half.

Three years ago only 64 percent of Hispanics used the Internet as opposed to 72 percent of African Americans and 80 percent of Whites.

In 2012, Hispanics matched African Americans in usage at 78 percent, while Whites slightly increased to 87 percent. 

Latinos primarily depend on their mobile devices, rather than desktop and laptop computers when accessing the Internet. 76 percent, versus 60 percent of White Americans.

As we dig even further into the study's data, we learn that nearly half of Latino adults live in Cellphone-only households, and that smartphone adoption can be correlated with age. More specifically those Latinos between ages of 18 to 29 are much more likely to own a smartphone than those ages 65 and older.

So it's the younger generation of Latinos that is really adopting smartphone technology. 

Cloud adoption has been linked to the use of Mobile devices , particulary in BYOD scenarios. There's no question about that. As the younger generation of Latinos attain higher levels of education, and as they enter the workforce, they will gain more affluence and buy things like tablets.

And with that entering of the workforce, they will bring their preferences of using Cloud services such as email and social networking, among other types of services they are adopting, including mobile apps and also subscriber services.

But the bottom line is, you don't need to own a PC and have residential broadband to reach information parity with the rest of the world anymore.

Another interesting factoid: Latinos using services like Facebook and Twitter from their mobile devices are primarily doing it in English. So if anything their devices are improving their integration into mainstream American society.

So maybe it's not the Cloud so much that scares the hell out of some folks, but that large groups of people who were previously left behind and out of sight and out of mind in the digital divide will now have access to many if not all of the same online resources as everyone else, with cheap smartphones and tablets, cheap carrier data plans and ubiquitous Wi-Fi in public locations.

Perhaps you don't hate the Cloud so much that you hate the idea that minorities are going to ruin your digital neighborhood. 

Cheap access to technology that was previously prohibitively expensive to large groups of people has always proven to level the playing field between the advantaged and disadvantaged.

Cloud, combined with ongoing industry disruption that has been caused by the increased popularity of low-cost mobile devices like smartphones and tablets will continue this trend, well into the future.

And some of you may not like this. But I for one embrace my Latino brothers and sisters in the Cloud Continuum.

Vive El Cloud! Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: Cloud, Networking, Smartphones, Tablets

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet is a technologist with over two decades of experience with integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer... Full Bio

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