Although I was aware Digital Sociology was fairly new, based mostly on the fact whenever I tell people I’m getting my M.A. in Digital Sociology, no one ever knows what it is and always ask me to elaborate (which I’m always happy to do). But there was something quite refreshing to read from accredited scholars about just how late to the game Digital Sociology is in the US. That being said, it’s not as surprising that the U.S. can fall behind or take longer than other places to address pressing issue…(just look at how we handled COVID when it first broke out here).
What really struck me was the section discussing digitized schooling. When Cottom (2017) dissected the disparities between urban/poorer vs suburban/wealthier schools, I didn’t expect the aspect of how companies decide how to give out their tech such as laptops and how they use them to retrieve user data. Cottom (2017) explains the process of tech companies giving out laptops to schools who cannot necessarily afford them, however, in exchange they’re able to mine, financialize and commodify their data. In other words, although it’s “free” or a “give away” it’s really not because these schools are selling their students data.
That’s probably one of the best examples of what digital sociology is. It’s not just about coding or looking at normal real life populations, it’s seeing how technology is essentially shaping us, learning from us, and ultimately affecting us as well. Digital sociology allows us to get deeper into digital spheres and see how education is different for poorer demographics as opposed to a more wealthier demographic. This unique lens allows us to have a more three-dimensional, rounded perspective of systemic issues, and I love it!