Disabled Americans aren’t reaching the online world nearly as much as Americans who live without a disability.
It’s another chasm in the digital divide, according to survey results published by the Pew Research Center.
“Disabled Americans are about three times as likely as those without a disability to say they never go online (23% vs. 8%),” explains the Pew Center. “When compared with those who do not have a disability, disabled adults are roughly 20 percentage points less likely to say they subscribe to home broadband and own a traditional computer, a smartphone or a tablet.”
The figures were published April 7 by Pew and taken from a survey conducted last fall. The U.S. Census Bureau quantifies the Disabled American population at 65 million citizens, roughly 19 percent of the U.S. population.
“Adults who report having a disability are also less likely to have multiple devices that enable them to go online,” says Pew. “One-in-four disabled adults say they have high-speed internet at home, a smartphone, a desktop or laptop computer and a tablet, compared with 42% of those who report not having a disability.”
Pew also notes some caveats exist in the research data.
One major caveat, explains Pew, suggests the disabled population is also disproportionally comprised of seniors and senior citizens in the U.S. are, as a whole, also less likely to adopt and use technology in general and online tools in particular.
“Disabled Americans younger than 65 have much higher rates of having home broadband services and owning digital devices than those ages 65 and up,” Pew says. “Still, even among younger adults, people with a disability are less likely to report using digital technology.
“For example, 67% of disabled Americans ages 18 to 64 say they own a desktop or laptop computer, compared with 84% of those in the same group who don’t have a disability.”
Pew also points out the ability of Disabled Americans to go online depends greatly on the level or severity of individual disabilities.
“Disabled Americans are less likely than those who don’t have a disability to report using the internet on a daily basis (50% vs. 79%),” Pew reports. “They are also less likely to say that having a high level of confidence in their ability to use the internet and other communication devices to keep up with information describes them “very well” (39% vs. 65%), according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in spring 2016.”
New Instagram Direct – here today, gone tomorrow; here today, here tomorrow
In yet another superfluous move intended to thump Snapchat on on the noggin’, Instagram has decided you can now send direct messages in the app that will either disappear or stay put.
“Today, we’re launching the new Direct to make it fast and easy to turn any conversation into a visual conversation with photos and videos,” explained the Instagram blog. “Texts and reshares will now appear in the same thread with disappearing photos and videos so you can seamlessly go back and forth with your friends.”
Wait….what? Nevermind. Here:
This is, of course, a lovely new feature and we’re all thrilled – thank you, Instagram – but as we’ve written before we’re still waiting for Instagram to become the truly – and singularly spectacular platform it could be for digital marketing.
Instagram offered a glimmer of hope for a deeper overall marketing experience in November when it announced it would start allowing live links in some Instagram posts – again, for a select few. The links are only for verified accounts and what viewers see is a bar across the bottom of a post which reads, “see more.” User click on the bar to be taken to a landing page.
One of the few drawbacks to the otherwise very useful and engaging platform is the inability to post a live link to a website landing page within the image sharing app itself. You can post links and they become live links when shared simultaneously to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Swarm (Foursquare), Flickr – even VKontakte, Ambeba & OK.ru. But they remain useless as live links on the Instagram app itself. Such a wasted opportunity.
Also in November, Instagram added the ability to mention others in Instagram Stories, incorporate it’s fun little GIF app, Boomerang into Stories and, in an even bigger advancement which hasn’t gotten much buzz (for some unknown reason), introduced direct shopping through Instagram.
Make Instagram more useful for everyday digital marketeers
But – once again – Instagram could make some even better, relatively simple advancements and become truly among the very most effective social networks for digital marketing.
Posting a photo or video to Instagram creates all kinds of opportunities to be creative. Users can let their inner artist run wild. It’s cross-platform opportunities are signficant, too. An Instagram post can immediately also be posted to Facebook (of course), Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Swarm (Foursquare) and with just a touch more effort (manually) to even more networks (GooglePlus, Pinterest for example).
One really big – and seemingly simple – enhancement would be to make added web links live within the regular app.
Oh sure, web links can be added to Instagram posts (along with your million hashtags) but they aren’t live within the app. They do become live links when one shares the same Instagram post to the other networks. But they remain simply a dead bunch of shortlink jumbled characters within the Instagram app itself.
The network took a huge leap forward in 2015 when it added to its app the ability to switch back and forth between accounts within the app.
A few more simple tweaks would be useful, too.
And how about resharing, reposting friends’ photos within the app? Would that be so hard? You can, of course, repost your friends’ photos but you need a separate app for that. Seems silly not to have resharing within the Instagram app itself.
Okay, and while you’re at it, what would be so wrong with making your web client a little more useful? Would it be so bad, as an example, if users could upload photos of videos (even YouTube videos) to the web client? Seriously, in the grand scheme of things, would this shift the polar dynamics of the earth?