Digital Divides of Internet Awareness, Adoption and Use due to Low Economic Wellbeing and Foreign Language Skill in the Caucasus

Event Date: 

Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 12:00pm

Event Location: 

  • SSMS 2135

Ron Rice

Professor of Communication, UC Santa Barbara

Katy E. Pearce, Department of Communication, University of Washington

Ronald E. Rice, Department of Communication, UC Santa Barbara

Extending a digital divide framework, this study analyzes the influences on and relations among awareness, adoption, and (frequent) use of the Internet in three former Soviet republics -- Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.  Nationally representative survey samples in each country in 2011 fit a combined model predicting that age, economic wellbeing, education, urbanness, and English language proficiency all generally influence each of the three Internet stages. Age, education, and urbanness are the primary determinants of awareness of the Internet.  The greatest divide was between non-adoption and adoption.  Language skill is the second most important determinant of adoption, and the most important influence on use. Despite growing Internet adoption in these states, inequality remains, based on socio-demographic and economic status at each Internet stage. Further, for these linguistically isolated states, English language skill being a strong influence on adoption and Internet usage indicates a further divide between elites and non-elites.