Is the MLK dream alive online?

Monday - 1/17/2011, 1:23pm EST

On the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, what's the state of equality online? Has social media empowered people? Is the digital divide narrowing?

King warned that "moral progress" should not fall behind advances in science and technology, Gizmodo reports.

Bizmodo quotes from King:

There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.

The reality of online empowerment is complicated. In his blog, Geoff Livingston asks Influential1 founders Mike Street and Dupé Ajayi to describe the state of online equality. The organization highlights "un-recognized influencers in the urban space."

While mobile technology and social media have helped provide equal access to information, technology is still tied to economics and education, Livingston writes.

Ajayi said education is free, specifically media: "Educate people on the fact that the use of tech tools goes way beyond social networking: you can use them to find a (better) job, get money for school, find resources to help you start your own business, etc."

And while the digital divide is turning into the "digital crack," another gap exists -- "African-Americans and Latinos are not leveraging these platforms or creating new platforms in order to create the next level of technology," Street said.

GovLoop is asking people if we are beyond race in the workplace.

"Do our interactions appear to be "color blind" or is there still an awkwardness and uncertainty that seems to simmer just under the surface? Is there more that needs to happen to create equity and cross-cultural understanding? How does your organization address diversity?" asks GovLoop's Andrew Krzmarzick.

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