Exchange Network App Could Help Create a New Kind of Commerce

The Digital Divide

 Although to most the internet may be a staple of their everyday life there are still individuals and families in America that don’t have the same level of accessibility as others. According to 2015 U.S. Census data, about one-fifth of Americans don’t have internet access at home. In the recent years, several tasks including applying for jobs, checking medical records, applying for loans, and even tutoring have shifted to online platforms. This shift has shed light on the reality of that which is the digital divide. The digital divide can be defined as, “The gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the Internet, and those who do not.” According to www.usnews.com, in Washington and New Hampshire, just 12 percent of residents lack internet subscriptions at home. While in Mississippi, 34 percent of households are without broadband internet. It is no surprise that in most cases the digital divide is based on race, gender, education, and income.

The Exchange App

If I had an opportunity to create a mobile application with a purpose I would create an exchange app. The application would serve as a meeting ground where people could make trades rather than obtaining things monetarily. People would be able to express what they need and their skill set so that they could be connected with another individual who could mutually benefit from the trade. For example, I need a textbook, but I can’t afford it. However, I know how to sew. Another individual on the app has the textbook I need and needs a dress altered. We can now make an exchange and mutually benefit. I would like the app to have categories so that it could be easily navigated. I would also like there to be a chat feature so that the communication would be clear and effective. It would need to be location based in some circumstances if the trade involved in person interaction. However, I would not limit it to specific areas so that users could have a further reach and a better opportunity of finding the trade they are seeking.

How They Relate

 It is important to create ways to bridge the gap in situations such as the digital divide. There are non-profit organizations such as EveryoneOn that provide free internet to those who cannot afford it. In a sense, I would like this app to provide the ability to commerce for those who may not be able to acquire what they need monetarily. Just because someone cannot afford something does not mean that the need for the item or service goes away.

How to Spread The Word

 I would spread the word using both traditional and new media public relations practices. I would create a symbol for the app and place it strategically around the cities the app is available so that it would catch the attention of the potential users in the area. I would also use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat marketing. I would start an email campaign prior to the release by building up interest while maintaining a certain level of mysteriousness so that users would be interested in knowing what exactly the application is and would be awaiting the launch. Finally, I would partner with other organizations that help the community and cross promote.

References:

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2017-03-16/internet-access-a-staple-of-american-life-yet-millions-remain-under-connected

http://www.academia.edu/630607/The_Digital_Divide_A_Perspective_from_a_Public_Relations_Practitioner

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