Conversations about Tech with the Digitally Disconnected and Economically Disadvantaged
Why is important to have conversations about tech with you? Because tech is about to rock your world and you ultimately will determine whether it will be in a good way or a bad way. We are in the midst of a new economy with lots of different names. You may have heard some of them: digital, technology-driven, knowledge, collaborative, and sharing just to name a few. To put it simply, those of us who are not tech savvy or do not have any computer skills are living in a real life version of Revenge of the Nerds and we won’t be able to turn back time to a time where we could function without a computer. It will impact every aspect of our lives from communication methods to how we earn a living.
I personally believe that this economy could be a game changer for those of us at the bottom of the economic ladder. As the nerds keep creating new ways to do things, there is one fundamental thing that is common with them all. The base product is always free or nearly free which provides access to all people regardless of ethnicity, race, ability, or economic level. The internet, aka the information superhighway, is free and will provide one with information about nearly every topic under the rainbow. Sometimes, too much information as I can attest to as I conduct research for my own start-up. My favorite thing about the internet is that I can research solutions to problems that I have or problems that I see need to be solved.
I work in workforce development helping the economically disadvantaged find employment and I am always on the hunt to find solutions that may provide hope or solve a problem that my clients need help with. For example, I discovered information about The Last Mile’s Code 7370 program in California that works with inmates teaching them to code so that upon release they are able to obtain employment as a developer. It would be great to see if this program could work in other states. I would not even know about this program if I did not jump on the internet. Pre-internet, the information would have still been found but it would have been a time-consuming task at the library and you would be relying only on the librarian’s knowledge base and the card catalog. Now, you just type in a few key words and you will get a wealth of information. The internet never ask the color of my skin or gender. It just provides me with the information. Now, is there information that I won’t be privy to, yes there will always be because someone else may not have to search from the starting point of A. Due to their upbringing, race, or economic status they may be able to start their search in the middle at M. Because I have the internet and now social media, I can reach out to the writers of the articles and make connections that can get me up to speed quickly.
My dad told me about a James Brown lyric called, “I Don’t Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing.”
Kids get that education
And don’t you take no more
’Cause if we gonna get
This thing together
Then you got to carry the ball
I don’t want nobody
To give me nothing
Open up the door, open
Open up the door
Here I come, here I come
I’m comin’ in any type of weather
Comin’ ’cause I got myself together
Open up, open up, open up, up
As we move further into an economy that encourages (and in my mind demands) participation from everyone, the song rings true for me. I feel less limitations on myself. I am not in denial of all of the “isms” that exist and I believe will exist until the Lord calls us back home. I just don’t feel the need to give them as much power in my life because I see more options and more roads that I can take to get to where I want to go.
I am about to begin my journey into social entrepreneurship with my own company, ATAP (All Things Are Possible) Web Solutions. I want to build solutions for real people problems. My first product is Thumbajob, a rideshare platform that enables the unemployed and underemployed find employment along the natural commute of their driver. I hope to begin Beta testing late this summer/early fall. Follow my journey into entrepreneurship as I provide survival tips for the new economy and web products for the digitially disconnected and economically disadvantaged on my blog, DDED Talk and check out our website at www.thumbajob.com. Follow us on Facebook @ thumbajob.